As the new financial year begins, it marks the end of an era and retirement for senior accountant John Bouwman.
The Sinclair Wilson partner bid a fond farewell to the firm he's worked at for the past 38 years on Wednesday.
The 62-year-old Princetown-raised accountant joined Sinclair Wilson in 1983 after three years in Melbourne working for multinational accounting firm Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young).
He was admitted as a partner in 1988 when founding partner Bill Sinclair retired. At the time, he was one of five partners in a practice that employed around 30 people. Today, Sinclair Wilson has 19 partners and more than 120 employees.
Mr Bouwman was the group's chairman from 2017 to 2020 and said technology had brought about the greatest change to the profession.
"Tax returns were all done on paper - we would compile the details using clients' bank statements and chequebook stubs on to ledger sheets, then that would go to the typists to type it, for the client to then come in, check over and sign.
"It was in the mid to late '80s we really started moving to computers and technology - the efficiencies that has created makes it hard to believe that was how we once did it. But then again, the tax system was simpler."
He said it was his client relationships that had given him the greatest satisfaction. "In the beginning, you may have seen clients once or twice a year to prepare their tax work," he said.
"But it has changed so much over the years, that we are now in regular contact with our clients - several times a week, sometimes. This means that you get to know them very well.
"A good accountant and accounting practice today is an advisor to a business or an individual, rather than just the person they see, or the office they visit once a year to sign a tax return - our people are true advisors, who work alongside their clients."
Mr Bouwman and wife Bernie are looking forward to holidaying in Queensland where they'll spend time with his son Josh, and visit friends.
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