Five Minutes with General Manager, Kate Barnett

Grab a coffee and let’s sit down with one of the faces of The Orbit Group. This time, it’s time to get up close with General Manager, Kate Barnett.

Why did you get into accounting?
Initially I was just working with Greg to develop the Orbit brand and look and feel. And then, well, it was kind of accidental that I became the General Manager. I could see Greg needed a hand with his internal administration when he first started. Somehow an evening’s work turned into research on how to stop the paperwork piling up in our second bedroom. Before I knew it, I had quit my job and The Orbit Group became a twosome!

Favourite 3pm pick-me-up.
It may seem a little boring, but I love peppermint tea and a mandarin. But if Amelia or Mary brings in any kind of sweet or cake, the mandarin stays in the fridge.

A typical day for you looks like…
I’m more creative and energised in the evenings. So much so, The Orbit Group team call it the ‘night shift’ when I’m working. The first thing I like to do is clear my emails and plan my day. We have a work in progress meeting and then we get cracking.

I get all the standard admin out of the way by scanning, posting, DocuSigning and/or emailing whatever lands on my desk. This is always accompanied by a delicious latte from the coffee masters at Duck Duck Goose around the corner.

Before the afternoon session, twice a week I have a quick lunch and then visit my trainer Joe to make sure that I move my body a little bit during the week. I always say I’ll run to Coogee in the evenings, but in the winter it has rarely happened. Having good habits during the work day with movement helps me think.

Once my desk and emails are nice and tidy and my legs are sore from horrific lunges, I then get onto my favourite tasks. This means setting up new programs or systems, ironing out kinks, watching tutorials or new product releases and creating procedures.

At the moment, I am looking at a system that will automatically send ASIC solvency minutes and statements directly to clients for them to sign – (this will be so cool when it works!).

This normally leads to the night shift as I inevitably stay up to the wee hours making sure it works before I introduce it to the team and our clients.

If you could pick a favourite at work task, what would it be and why?
I’m torn between discovering and testing new systems that allow our team and clients to save time (and maybe some money in the process) to working on the creative and marketing for The Orbit Group. I think overall, system set ups win by a smidgeon.

What’s one myth about small business accountancy that boils your potato?
That accountants are boring, receipt hoarding, paper shufflers that only want to hear from their clients at tax time. We’re not boring and we really like hearing from you.

What’s something any business can do it 20 minutes or less per week that can generate higher profits?
I think working on your brand and figuring out why you’re different from your competitors is something that can make a huge difference. Try setting up a mini Survey Monkey to get feedback and reviews from your clients. Ensure you’ve set up ‘Google My Business’. Update your LinkedIn. Remember, every little helps!

What’s the most common mistake you see coming across your desk? How can people/businesses avoid it?
New customers usually come across to us because of bad service in the past. It baffles me how businesses expect to keep clients if they don’t keep up their service level.

By having systems in place that allow us to be proactive and not reactive, we can ensure that we are always ‘orbiting’ (see what I did there?) our clients to make sure they are well looked after and managing their expectations.

Finish this sentence: I do my best work to…
Radio X – an English digital radio station that plays some tunes. And usually this is at night when no one is around so I can sign as loud as I like.

Why do you love working at The Orbit Group?
I really like how flexible it is working here. Because I can pick up my computer and work anywhere – I do just that.

Monday morning at the Coogee Pavilion having a coffee and avocado on toast, watching the surf and my emails? Yep, I’ll take that over a stuffy commute and an office with a dodgy air-conditioning any day.

Also, our team, partners and clients are awesome, which definitely helps.

Are you a small business, startup or freelancer who wants to work with an accountant that cares? Give Kate and the team from The Orbit Group a call. Kate may even take you for that Monday morning coffee and share the Coogee joy!