Hunter Business with Penelope Green 

YOUNG cloud-based accountancy firm Growthwise has merged with veteran inner-city number crunchers Jackson Perrin & Co.

Growthwise co-founder Steph Hinds said the transaction was a natural progression after her company assisted Jackson Perrin & Co, headed by Chris Jackson and Ralph Perrin for 27 years, with client dealings in recent years. 

‘‘We wanted to be able to offer our services to more businesses in Newcastle and the surrounds, and [Jackson Perrin & Co] saw it as an opportunity to increase the range of services they could offer,’’ says Ms Hinds.

‘‘The merger will give us a chance to get to know their clients and offer them more of our technology-related efficiencies.’’

Jackson Perrin & Co, based for the past 17 years in the T&G building, has now relocated to Growthwise’s Darby Street bunker.

‘‘We’re looking forward to the challenges ahead, and offering our clients more comprehensive and efficient services,’’  Mr Perrin said.

Growthwise, which turns four next month, is a certified Xero accountancy practice offering financial planning and start up business advice and has more than 250 clients across Australia.

Beyond the frantic end-of-financial-year period, Ms Hinds is also co-organising the inaugural DIG (design, interactive technology and green tech) festival to be held in Newcastle on October 2-5.

In her ‘‘spare’’ time she presents federal government workshops to small business on how to take advantage of the National Broadband Network.

She also recently became the only person in Australia and New Zealand to score 100per cent in Auckland-based Unleashed Technologies exam to become a ‘‘Guru’’ in complex inventory training.

Post merger, Growthwise now has nine staff, with the newest part-time addition being 16-year-old ‘‘geek freak’’ and New Lambton High student Daniel Vrtkovski.

‘‘He came in on work experience and he was just brilliant,’’ Ms Hinds said. 

‘‘I asked him to quit school, and he’s agreed to quit McDonalds for now,’’ laughed Ms Hinds.


MONDAY marks a new era for Wickham-headquartered NineWays Business Centre.

Dawn and Sam McLoughlin officially take its reins after buying it from founder Karen Howard, who will retain her interest in the Newcastle Business Solutions consultancy arm.

Ms Howard, the current chair of Hunter Medical Local and a board member of the Hunter Development Corporation and NSW  Business Chamber, said she could think of ‘‘no better people’’ than the McLoughlins to run NineWays, which she founded in 1999 to aid start-up businesses and organisations.

Mr McLoughlin has worked in senior management and planning roles in the energy, resources, military and professional services and mining sectors, while his better half created Lawler Recruiting and Consulting in Newcastle, eventually selling it to TMP, which in turn became Hudson.


PHILLIP Pigram takes over as the Newcastle operations manager of global engineering, architecture and environmental consultancy firm GHD on July 8.

His appointment follows the departure of predecessor Tasos Katopodis, who is relocating to Sydney to head up the company’s operations in the Emerald City.

Mr Pigram, who has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern Queensland, will lead GHD’s team in the Hunter and Northern New South Wales region.

He joined GHD’s Newcastle office after completing his engineering degree at the University of Newcastle.


MARK Alexander, a financial adviser with Warabrook wealth management firm Crosbie Warren Sinclair, has scooped advisory firm Securitor’s national adviser of the year for the third time.

Mr Alexander is also a five-time winner of the state equivalent of the gong.

He said Crosbie Warren Sinclair, which began as a two-man accounting operation in 1964, had expanded its focus to provide clients with advice across the entire range of their financial needs.


DUDLEY resident and hair and make-up artist Bonnie Gillies has joined forces with Sydney PR maven Roxy Jacenko, who recently kicked an own goal thanks to her Celebrity Apprentice Australia spat with Olympic champion Stephanie Rice.

Working for labels including Wish, Country Road and Alice McCall, Gillies is now on Jacenko’s Ministry of Talent blogging team.

Gillies founded popular website but says her three- and five-year-old are equally  demanding. 

‘‘Life is a juggling act of school, pre-school, work, blogging, hectic!’’ she emailed.


EAST Maitland will tomorrow become home to what KFC is billing as its first ‘‘green’’ store.

The fast food chain chose the store to develop as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifiable quick service restaurant.

Maitland mayor Peter Blackmore will be among dignitaries on hand to examine the eco-friendly features of the store, which will recycle oil, cans, bottles and cardboard and compost its food and general waste.


HAMILTON Doctors Surgery have outgrown their James Street premise and last week  opened a second surgery in Dension Street.

Increased general demand within the community led to the move, with the practice’s nine doctors rotating between the sites. 


THE Anglican Diocese of Newcastle has appointed John Cleary chief executive officer of the Newcastle Anglican Schools Corporation.

Mr Cleary, who has been with the diocese since 2007 and was instrumental in writing the constitution for the Newcastle Anglican Schools Corporation, will continue as diocesan business manager.


LAST but not least, Wednesday is the deadline  to enter BRW’s annual Most Innovative Companies List.

Head to for more details

Merger: Growthwise co-founder Steph Hinds joins the veterans.

Merger: Growthwise co-founder Steph Hinds joins the veterans.


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