Startup to success: Zac Hayes

Author: T-Marie

Small business accounts… Let’s be honest, startups dread it almost as much as much as the dread of the cost of legal advice. We’re too excited about designing our brand or launching websites to worry about account programs… That will all take care of itself, right?! We can just note costs down in excel & store all our invoices in a shoe box right?!

Haha, no. That is silly.

When I started 2aT back in 2015, I was doing it on a budget & to save costs I was using Wave accounting, a free invoicing platform. Which did suffice for the time being, however, I also had no idea what was possible when it came to streamlining or automation of accounts.

So fast forward a few months to 2016, I was introduced to Zac from HA Accounting via a services exchange platform. Back then myself & Zac were both just starting up, both solopreneurs.

When he logged into to see my accounts I could feel his eyes rolling. Luckily he had seen it all before & explained all the things I was doing wrong, right & also some things I wasn’t doing at all that needed to be done.

Now 2 years later,  Zac is still doing my accounts, he has a team of 6 & continues to grow!

So, grab a cup of tea & a notepad & read along to hear a little about Zacs success story, including his biggest mistakes, things he wished he knew before he started & I also ask him some simple accounting questions that could save you lots of time!

I mean who knew that invoices over $1000 had to have your ABN on them!? #keepreading


Know your numbers, it’s a fundamental precept of business. – Bill gates.

An interview with an Accountant.

-Zac Hayes, Founder of HA-Accounting


Tell us about why you started HA Accounting?

I think the business came out of being so passionate about business and helping people with finances. After working in several firms with a focus on compliance and the frustration of not being able to help improve my client’s situation I was eager to change my approach to accounting and the way in which I engaged with my clients. Taking business advisory and accounting to the cloud to work with people implementing new efficient systems, save money & time.

And what’s one thing you would tell yourself if you could go back to before you started your business?

Don’t be afraid to change your approach and go against the grain. Trust yourself and listen to your client’s feedback. It’s so easy to be afraid of change and as someone who advises people to embrace the new take some of your own advice. You got this.

Tell us about your biggest f#ckup in business?

I undercharged or I was scrapping/ discounting a lot of bills at the start, and got myself into strife, I did this to keep clients or to try and do an undervalued job for cash flow.

So my biggest mistake was devaluing my time. But, I learnt from this, quickly, and for me and my clients, I learnt that time-based billing causes a lot of angst on both sides of the relationship. So I went to value-based billing to have a better relationship with my clients to be able to be more involved and ensure their success without compromising my cash flow.

What’s a piece of accounting or finance advice you would give a startup just starting?


When making that leap its exciting, but getting professional advice from a business strategist accountant is crucial to saving yourself time and money in the long run. Entity structures, tax planning, software and finding the right business partners is key to your success. The small business clients who are the most successful are the ones who value their professionals and listen and act early. 

There are plenty of free or cheap software’s and resources but if you want to have the best relationship with your business professionals trust their judgement they do this for a living and your success is theirs.

Some links I suggest people use are:

And, talk to your peers and community see who/ what they use and do your research online.

What’s your preferred invoicing software and why?

I’m a Xero partner, so definitely Xero.

The one file system is the best thing that has happened to our industry and our client relationships. Xero may cost a little more but saves you in fees and time.

We can save hours on compliance have a real-time data with our clients and address their business problems the same day not 6-12 months down the track as our books are our client’s books. It’s a powerful tool and designed for small businesses.


Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty stuff, what details should be included on an invoice?

For sales of less than $1000, the seven details are:

1. The words ‘Tax Invoice’ must be used – preferably at the top.
2. Your identity as the seller, such as your business name or trading name. Contact details are optional, but recommended.
3. Your ABN or ACN.
4. The date you created the tax invoice.
5. A brief list of the items sold, including quantity and price.
6. The GST amount (if any) payable. You can display GST for each item in a separate column, or within the total price. If you choose not to display it separately, use a statement such as ‘Total includes GST’ as this is needed for the next detail.
7. The extent to which each item sold includes GST. You’ll meet this requirement if you either:
–  Show the GST amount for each item.
– Clearly state that the total price includes GST.

Tax invoices for sales of $1000 or more also need to show the buyers identity or ABN.

But let the software do the above for you how much is time working on your own work then admin the average cost of software is $50.00 per month when most people can charge out that per hour as a minimum (subcontractor) or $100.00+ if a professional. So if the software saves you an hour a month to do billables or business development to bring in new clients it has paid for its self.

And, do all businesses need to charge GST? If not, when do we need to?

No, but if you run a business or have a turnover (sales) of $75,000 or more, it is mandatory. And with some contracts and in some industries this is also mandatory, I strongly suggest getting advice specific to you and your business about this one.

A useful resource is the ATO website:

Top tip for small businesses?

Have a clear vision and plan. What are you doing? where are you headed? who are you helping? what is your main aim for today? this week? this month? this year? What are your values and how are you different? Answering these questions and a few more helps to formulate a plan for you and your business.
The business owners who not only survive but thrive have a clear vision and have their whole team including their professional advisors working toward their goal and keep kicking their goals as their growth and plans change as both themselves and their business grows. Be plan-centric.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Your accountant/ business advisor can be one the best assets for the small business market. Their passion is helping you and small businesses thrive. I am commonly the email or phone call to bounce an idea around or the voice of reason with the new crazy ideas. I love making clients work to a plan and being part of there plan or being the reminder of where they are headed. The financial planner in me loves tax minimisation and wealth accumulation with generation Y. A good accountant will help you work towards your business goals, minimise tax to save you money or grow profit for a loan/ wealth accumulate. Saving clients money is one of the reasons I get out of bed in the morning the other is helping clients meet their objectives and goals.


Want to know more about HA Accounting?

The team at HA Accounting & Limitless Financial Services are passionate about everything small business & wealth accumulation in generation Y. We do this by working with our clients in Xero and its many add-ons and working together on common goals/ plan. Some clients its tax minimisation/ compliance others its business planning and all sorts of advisory to suit the client’s needs. We are strategically focused on both the accounting and financial planning sides and many of our staff are dual qualified to offer the best service possible to our clients. The best business plans come undone when they don’t work for the person/ peoples personal goals behind it. We help you to work towards the WHY ARE YOU IN BUSINESS. Our answer is to help you with yours.

Check us out on Facebook HA Accounting for all the latest tips and tricks.

And remember, nothing posted on this blog or website constitutes or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind.  If you require advice in relation to any small business matters, we highly recommend that you consult an appropriate professional. 

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