When flying Qantaslink make sure you have a look through the Spirit magazine! You will come across the following article on our very own Michael Harvey.
Born and bred in Launceston, accountant Michael Harvey FCPA is all about supporting local businesses – and giving those in need a leg up.
When Michael Harvey FCPA started his accountancy practice in Launceston 13 years ago, he put his kids in bunk beds and set up shop in the spare bedroom. “It was me, a couple of short-term contracts and a computer,” he recalls, “and off we went.”
His practice, MDH Accounting, now has 300 clients and seven staff members but Michael still remembers the early years of feast or famine when he was building the business on his own. “I’ve got a real empathy for small businesses; [I know] the trials and growing pains,” he says. “You don’t have a department of marketing or human resources – you’re it. You have to get your head around a multitude of different areas and have people around you who can be sounding-boards.”
Today, Michael relishes his role in the firm, which involves studying businesses objectively and suggesting improvements. “Often people are working so hard they don’t take time out to get that perspective,” says Michael. “I love becoming a bit of a counsellor or business coach. I always ask them what keeps them awake at night, what’s stirring around in their head.”
Michael graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1992 and worked in Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide before settling in his home town of Launceston. Some of his clients have been with him from the start, including a local tradie who rocked up to his first appointment with his receipts in a beer carton. “He was a mess,” says Michael. “Now he’s one of my best clients and we catch up on a quarterly basis to talk about his business and his life.”
Michael extends that care to the broader community, too. The 49-year-old father-of-three sponsors local netball and soccer teams, as well as serving as treasurer for the soccer club and for City Mission, a Launceston group that offers drug and alcohol counselling, crisis accommodation and emergency relief for people going through tough times. Also a member of the Tailrace Community Church, Michael sponsors kids who can’t afford to go to the church’s youth and family events.
At tax time last year, he donated $10 from each tax-return fee to a local charity, giving his clients a choice of six organisations to donate to, from sporting and disability groups to a community radio station. “I’m very focused on what you can put back into your local community,” he explains. “Sometimes it’s easy to just give money rather than time and interest. I’m still trying to get that balance right but if I can sit on a board or help with the skill set I’ve got, why not do it?”