We Put Our Money Where Our Clients Are

We believe that most valuable thing we can do for our clients (after providing business services and advice) is to use their services ourselves, or to make introductions where it benefits both parties.

Blackler Smith & Co client The Beauty Room

Nicole Moore, Owner/Operator of The Beauty Room, client and supplier to
Blackler Smith & Co.

We try hard to connect people. When we know someone needs something that another client supplies, we put one client in touch with the other. If we trust someone and give a recommendation it usually goes a long way to transferring that trust so that others can do some good business together.

We live the referral process ourselves. We believe in our clients. In the past few months we have given our clients priority for our own business, either through Blackler Smith & Co as the buyer, or through our personal patronage. To make it real, here are some examples:
Beauty Therapist. Architectural Services. Carpet retailer. Picture Framer. Electrician. Catering. Dental Services. Storage Provider. After School Care. Travel. Hotel. Painting. Packaging. Restaurant. Roofer. Plumber. Engineer. Panel Repair. Insurance. Legal.

Our clients demonstrate belief in us and we reciprocate wherever possible.

Award Winners

They exist to put you at your ease and will walk alongside you on your business journey.

Blackler Smith award winning chartered accountnats

If you need professional accountancy services but feel a little nervous about approaching anyone for help, then the friendly team at Blackler Smith & Co will soon allay any trepidation you may feel.

Winner of the award for Excellence in Small Business and Professional Services at this year’s Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Wellington Region Business Excellence Awards, Blackler Smith & Co are progressively-minded, family-owned business specialists based in central Lower Hutt who “speak plain English”.

The team, headed by partners Ben Blackler and Blair Smith, offer the safeguard of being a chartered accountancy firm whose aim is to help you succeed as you develop your own business interests.

“We work proactively with you to bring your aspirations into reality. Our aim is to be easy to deal with and to provide you with a positive experience.”

From the time you step into Blackler Smith & Co and are greeted by Business Manager Kerry Blackler you will know you have made the right move.

First and foremost an advisory business, Blackler Smith & Co offers the high quality advice you would expect from a mid-sized firm in a professional but welcoming family-friendly environment.

With a combined 30 years’ plus in business, including a dozen years each and being partners of Crowe Horwath, they have a significant  number of quality contacts across the banking, legal, insurance/risk, property sectors and in financial planning should you need them.

They also undertake comprehensive tax compliance and advisory services for their clients, offer audit insurance and can help set you up with affordable and efficient systems and technology to streamline your processes, whether it be Xero, payroll systems or smartphone apps to make your life so much easier you will wish you had done it years ago.

They believe ‘what comes around, goes around’ and make a point of not only using the services of their clients whenever the opportunity  arises, but also referring others to them.

Typical of this firm’s ethos, they are quick to thank their clients for the custom, loyalty and trust they have put into Blackler Smith & Co since they set up in the Hutt.

Blackler Smith & Co are a local Hutt firm who are here to stay for Hutt businesses. Winning the Business Excellence Award has been a  vindication for Blackler Smith & Co they are on the right track and are making a real difference for their clients.

To download the article click here.


Buy Well – Part One

Having your own business is a dream shared by many people. After all, what’s better than taking on  a new challenge and building an enterprise that rewards you not only financially, but also provides your life with greater purpose and, hopefully, freedom?

A popular avenue to obtaining your own business is to buy an existing one. An existing business offers some advantages over setting one up from scratch, including starting with:

  • An existing brand and existing customers
  • An established organisational structure with trained staff, systems, supply chains and relationships
  • Premises and equipment
  • A history of past performance including turnover, margins, expenses and overall profits.

The last item here, a history of past performance could be the best predictor of your future with the business. It’s one that we see buyers too easily dismissing by adopting too optimistic an attitude of “we’ll do it better”, and “we’ll put more hours into it”.

Businesses can always be improved but turning around an unprofitable or truly declining business takes something very special. It requires skills beyond those held by many people. It’s usually better to buy well in the first place.

Things to both understand and look for in the accounts provided by the seller include:

  • Key themes, ‘signs’ and trends, including those of the industry itself
  • Key people and seasonality impacts
  • Unsubstantiated turnover claims
  • An excessive asking price; amounts attributed to plant fixtures and goodwill
  • Cashflow
  • Adjustments to expenses to improve the appearance of the result.

That’s where professional advice comes in. Our business reviews a lot of financial information of businesses for sale under a ‘due diligence’ process as well as many practical issues of buying a business. One of business-life’s no-brainers must be to find yourself an experienced and motivated chartered accountant (they’re the qualified ones) to explain what information you need, to review this for you and to help you decide whether to keep going, run away or help to negotiate a better outcome for you.

A final part of the pre-purchase process is structuring your purchase for GST, risk protection and tax benefits according to your particular circumstance.

People are often (understandably) confused about the best order to follow seeing advisers about buying a business. This is a generalisation but we suggest this order:

  1. Chartered Accountant  (they see the financial results for hundreds of businesses and might even know a business that’s for sale)
  2. Bank (to get finance shored up and other insights)
  3. Lawyer  (to work through the detail a sale and purchase agreement requires before presenting it to a seller). Your lawyer will also work with your chartered accountant to ensure the tax and GST detail is optimal for you.

To speak to us about the business you’re considering buying, please call Ben Blackler or Blair Smith on 555 9090 or email info@bsco.co.nz

Buy Well – Part Two

The SWOT Analysis BEFORE you buy

In our last article we wrote about how to Buy Well when it comes to buying a businesses. Now that you’ve found what looks like the ideal business to buy, you’re about to put an offer in. About now, undertaking a SWOT analysis as part of your due diligence before you go unconditional could save you thousands of dollars and give you a wider appreciation of what you are about to leap into.

What’s a SWOT analysis?

It’s a sound business tool that’s used to highlight the key issues and features of a business, and the environment it operates in. A SWOT analysis gives you a focus for areas you need to concentrate on. It’s part of your strategic analysis.

A SWOT analysis gets you to ask 4 questions. What are the:

  • Key Strengths of this business?
  • Key Weaknesses of this business?
  • Main Opportunities for this business?
  • Main Threats to this business?

Strengths and Weaknesses relate to the business itself. Opportunities and Threats can also refer to issues outside the business.

Sit alone, put your detective hat on and start your thinking under each question. After you’ve done your solo part, ask questions of others in the industry, consider the SWOT of competitors, ask your advisers, your friends and the people currently working for the business. Even ask Google! The more information you can gather, the more knowledge you have to make an informed decision about one of the largest purchases you may ever make. Here are some ideas to get you started:


  • What are the key products or services sold?
  • What does this business do well?
  • What key skills and capabilities are held within the business?
  • What are the things this business has going for it?
  • What is its USP – it’s Unique Selling Proposition?
  • What is the business’s reputation?


  • What are the areas the business may struggle in?
  • What aspects of the business don’t appear right, or don’t make sense?
  • What needs attention?
  • What can be improved on?


  • Where can you go with this business if you make some changes? How can you put your own personality into it?
  • What new products and services can you add or develop?
  • What can you do to improve performance?
  • What efficiencies can you gain with the current systems/processes?
  • What can you do that is not being done now?


  • What are the issues that could threaten the business’s financial situation?
  • What are the significant changes in this industry that could occur?
  • What is changing in the wider marketplace?
  • What are the competitors doing, who are they and where are they?

A careful SWOT analysis will alert you to important issues to consider during your due diligence phase of checking the business with eyes wide open before you fully commit to buying it. Remember that a business which fails to plan, plans to fail.

For help with a SWOT analysis, due diligence and all things business give the experts Ben Blackler and Blair Smith a call for an obligation free chat. Call us on 555 9090 or email info@bsco.co.nz

Spotlight on Business

February 3 2015 marked the first anniversary for Blackler Smith & Co. an innovative and new chartered accountancy firm based in Margaret Street, Lower Hutt.

While the firm may be relatively new the experience of the principals Ben Blackler and Blair Smith goes back a long way in Lower Hutt and the wider Wellington Region. Both Ben and Blair come from previous careers as principals of the largest accountancy firm in Lower Hutt.

They both act for clients who have been with them for many years. They set up Blackler Smith & Co. when they felt they were at the right stage in their careers to deal with clients in their own distinctive way, with strong professionalism and personal style. It is important to them both they are local with a lot of local knowledge and wide community networks, as Blackler Smith & Co. is a relationship-based business. They are here for the long haul, provide stable relationships and continuity, and plan to look aer their clients for many years to come.

Ben and Blair put a great deal of emphasis on the quality of the service they and their team of experienced accountants provide. Because they have worked locally throughout their careers they understand local businesses and the Wellington market. They particularly enjoy dealing with family owned businesses, whether large or small.

“Dealing with the people who make the decisions and who are affected by those decisions is extremely satisfying” they say. Ben and Blair and their team work hard to achieve the best results for their clients, they are easy to deal with and have a “no surprises” approach to their fee structure.

Having come from a large corporate accounting environment they have longstanding experience dealing with complex trust and commercial work – “it’s what we do”. ey are true business advisers offering strategic advice and direction, and day to day advice on “almost anything business related”. They also offer business valuations and tax compliance services (tax returns, financial statements, returns for GST, PAYE, FBT etc) for companies, trusts, partnerships and individuals. They are progressive and innovative and equipped to solve problems and provide solutions for their clients.

As well as these accountancy services Blackler Smith & Co. has a special division set up to handle tax returns for and provide advice to property investors. is division named The Property Accountants prepares annual financial statements and tax returns at fixed prices to those owning rental properties. is is a specialised area. Their expertise coupled with the fixed price model is ideally suited for those with any number of rental properties, be they residential or commercial/industrial.

Being a person who loves black and white I was immediately impressed by their iconic New Zealand branding. Everything about Blackler Smith & Co. is sharp, new and impressive while still having a strong professional feel.

Their offices, located on Level 1, 8 Margaret Street, Lower Hutt, are modern and extremely family friendly. Ben and Blair both have young families (who all help in the business) and their offices are deliberately designed to accommodate clients who may need to bring children with them when they attend appointments. A room designed with children in mind is decked out especially for their smaller guests. As they both pointed out they don’t want their clients to have any barriers to seeing them when they need to.

To download the article click here.

Introducing Blackler Smith & Co.

Blackler Smith & Co began after Ben Blackler and Blair Smith moved out of what became a large international accountancy group. We wanted to help the same types of people and provide the same types of services, but in our own distinct way.

Thank you to everyone that has been in touch with us since we opened in February.We’ve been really humbled and we really appreciate your loyalty.

Our Aims Are Simple, to:
• Focus on people and families who have their own business.
• Get to know our clients really well and have some fun along the way.
• Offer the best advice and focus on your plans and ambitions.
• Offer continuity of people you’re dealing with – we know that constant change is frustrating for you.
• Have great offices that are nice to visit, are easy to find and get a park.
• Be completely professional but have a relaxed, approachable style.

The Won’ts
Here’s what we won’t do:
• We won’t tell you what to do.
• We won’t dictate when to supply your year-end information and we won’t tell you what accounting package you need to use.
• You’re in the driver’s seat with us. We will, however, offer you suggestions to save you time, remove stresses, make you more money and to achieve your potential.
• And we won’t be changing our name.

Our Clients
To highlight the types of work we do, this may be best illustrated by some recent examples:
• We met with an owner seeking to take their business to a whole new level. We first got clarity on their strategy (market positioning, target market, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and the functions of their business (responsibility areas). On top of that we bring focus on the business’s monthly results and suggest areas for ongoing improvement.

• We helped three different parties buy their first businesses. We talked through each person’s ambitions, assessed whether they’re onto a good thing by valuing the business and discussing the business’s potential and risks, helped them borrow money from the bank, set up the best ownership structure for the business and supported the transition into the new business.

• For the partners of a business, we met and mapped out a change in a company’s ownership to better protect assets from business and personal risks and saved a lot of tax in the process.

• We helped a number of our clients sell their long established businesses. For two parties this involved talking over what they wanted to achieve, setting a selling price, preparing sales information in a professional way for buyers, assisting with negotiations, reviewing the sale and purchase agreements, working out how to take the money without adverse tax consequences.

• For other clients we’ve been designing better accounting systems (XERO and MYOB) to simplify their administration, to save them time and to get better information, more quickly.

• We provided some specialist family trust advice when things haven’t quite gone as they should have.

• We’ve been involved with many of the all-important annual accounts and tax returns. We usually recommend meetings to talk over the past financial year and more importantly to focus on the future. We find clients get great value from our meetings.

Moving to Blackler Smith & Co
We’ve received a number of questions about the process of changing accountants. Firstly, the harder the decision to move is for you, the more we’d like to talk to you. That’s because we will invest time and energy into establishing our relationship with you. If it’s hard for you to move on from your current accountant, which tells us a lot about the way you like to operate.

Anyway, what’s the process?
• Come and check us out – meet with Ben or Blair
• From there we will contact your current accountant and arrange the transfer of your records (company and trust accounts, minutes, tax returns, etc)
• We cover the cost of the transfer to us. Yes we have some set up time, but again that’s at our sole cost.

To download the article click here.