The end of an era and the beginning of a new one

  • Wellington profile

    (From left) Abbey Warner, Peter Smith and Bruce Stormer.

When Peter Smith retires as a director of Moore Stephens Markhams Wellington Limited at the end of March, it will mark both an ending and a new beginning for us.

For Peter, it will be the conclusion of a long and stimulating accountancy career that has spanned almost five decades, while for Abbey Warner it is a new beginning at the firm in which she started her career.

Abbey’s name may be familiar to most of you – she’s been with Moore Stephens Markhams for 12 years, most recently as a Senior Accountant.  However, on 1 April, Abbey will take the next step and become a director and shareholder of the firm.

Abbey’s career started at Moore Stephens Markhams when it was known as Mason King.  “It was my first job when I graduated from Victoria University and I’ve remained with the firm ever since, although I have been fortunate to take breaks for travelling and family.”

Although Abbey acknowledges she has “big shoes to fill”, Abbey is looking forward to being able to spend more time with clients.  “I love the client interaction and I love numbers – it’s a perfect job.  And I’m really looking forward to stepping in and stepping up and working with clients, many of whom I have worked with before,” she says.

Peter’s 40 plus years of accountancy experience has had many highlights.  Like Abbey, Peter loves the logic of the accounting process.  However, the highlights tend not to be in the figures, but in the circumstances of the provision of his accounting services.

Some examples of this include:  flying to his first out-of-town audit (Safe Air) with the rest of the audit team in the back of a Bristol Freighter (cotton wool supplied); being required by law to remain in the office on 2 July 1974, until the Cornish Management Act had been passed in Parliament that night; his first trip overseas to the Moore Stephens conference in Greece in October 1984; risking life and limb auditing sheep count numbers in the wild Rimutakas; and finally and most recently, saving a client a significant sum by successfully persuading the Inland Revenue that the law relating to certain aspects of the current overseas pension taxing regime did not fit ‘parliamentary intention’ when the law was passed.

Peter is not stepping away completely as he will remain a partner in Moore Stephens Wellington Audit.

For Peter, handing over the reins to Abbey is an important step for the future of Moore Stephens Markhams Wellington Limited.

“Every business needs a succession plan and to meet the future head on.  I’m confident Abbey will provide excellent service and I have no hesitation at all in recommending her.  Abbey’s skills, experience and friendly nature makes her the ideal person to direct Moore Stephens Markhams Wellington into the future.  I will always be available to Abbey if and when needed, to ensure the transition is seamless,” he says.

With retirement, Peter is planning to take things a bit easier, spending more time exploring this wonderful country of ours with his wife, particularly from his Taupo holiday base, and picking up hobbies rendered dormant by the demands of working life, including perhaps finally completing a very much stalled motorcycle restoration project.

Abbey returned to the firm in early February after taking time out for maternity leave, and she is genuinely excited about the opportunity.  “It’s such a supportive environment and I’ve always enjoyed coming to work,” says Abbey.  “Being able to work closely with clients on their businesses and help them succeed is what drives me.”

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