Barry Hockey is known around the Coffs Coast for his successful accounting business, but after-hours he is a muso who loves nothing more than shredding guitar in his band, Car Ramrod.
Hey Barry. Tell us how you came to be on the Coffs Coast.
I moved to Coffs in 1993 with my family for a new job working with a major bank. My position was manager for commercial business in a business banking centre. Our plan was to stay for two years and move on, but the area is such a beautiful place, we never left. I left the bank in 2001 and decided to go out on my own as a public accountant. As the area grew, so did my client base, and I now have many loyal clients that I enjoy working with.
Being well known for your accounting business, some people may not know you’re quite the rockstar. Where did your passion for music come from?
I have always loved music and going to see live bands. I played in a band in Sydney before moving to Coffs. After arriving in Coffs, I met many talented musicians and have enjoyed playing in bands in Coffs. My latest band is called Car Ramrod, being a line from the Super Troopers movie. It’s a three-piece band playing mainly covers, but recently we have written some of our own songs, so watch this space. We all get on well together and play music for fun.
How long have you been playing the axe, and why was the guitar the instrument you picked up?
I have played guitar since I was 11 years old. My first inspiration was hearing the guitar solo in the Beatles’ song Let It Be. After having a few lessons, I was hooked on the instrument and have enjoyed playing guitar ever since. There is so much to learn from music. I find it a great way to relax, and it also challenges your mind.
Accounting and music may seem worlds apart (unless you’re Elton John’s accountant) but has there been a time where they have connected?
Would be interesting being Elton John’s accountant! Someone once said to me, music is like math; it’s about counting, structure and phrasing. If you think about it, accounting has certain steps from beginning to end, just like a song.
Coming from a banking background, you opened Barry Hockey’s Accounting 15 years ago. What would you say is your secret for a successful business?
I enjoy helping people. So, for me, it’s about providing a good service and being available for your clients. I enjoy what I do, and I have a great team around me. We work well together, and the clients pick up on this.
I like to think outside of the square, so to speak, to try to find a solution to every problem. We keep a relaxed attitude at work, and my motto is “never lose your sense of humour”. I feel if you can help your clients feel comfortable, it provides a better working relationship.
You are just about to expand the business and expand your location. What do you have planned?
We have opened a new office next to our existing practice at Suite 1, 29 Orlando Street. The plan is to cater for broader financial advice needs such as financial planning, protection insurance, retirement planning, superannuation and wealth accumulation.
Where did the idea come from?
I undertook further study by completing a Diploma of Financial Planning, as I had an interest in that area. There have also been some changes to government legislation around financial advice licensing. During the process, I met a colleague, Jas Atwal; we discussed joining forces, and here we are today. Jas is a very experienced financial planner and like me, worked for a major bank before starting his own practice. We have common goals, so we see this as a good fit for our clients.
What will be some of the benefits for clients, existing and new?
We aim to fill the gap in our existing services on offer. There have been several changes in the industry in recent times driven by government legislation and professional bodies, so we see this as a natural progression to assist our clients’ overall needs. We will be able to review their entire financial situation apart from tax. I see that tax and financial advice go hand in hand.
What other plans do you have on the horizon?
Our long-term goal is to build a successful financial planning practice alongside our existing accounting practice. With dual licensing, i.e. tax and financial advice, we aim to give a holistic advice approach and cover a broader range of issues to assist our clients’ overall financial situation.