On Tuesday 20th June Highview partners, associates, staff, friends and family came together to celebrate the official Grand Opening of the new Cranbourne premises. In conjunction with a delicious morning tea cake & dessert spread, they raised awareness and funds for the Cancer Council fundraiser Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. The event was a huge celebration, Casey Mayor Sam Aziz, alongside Highview Partners Silvio Marinelli, Darren Crowther & Dave Sheahan together announced the building officially open with the cut of a ribbon!
Recently Silvio, Darren and Dave took time to reflect on this momentous occasion in an interview with Star News Group. The article is featured below…
In its infancy Highview Accounting operated from a humble suburban lounge room.
Founding partners Silvio Marinelli and Heather Crowther toiled over clients’ tax returns in their boss Kerry Lovegrove’s living room. Silvio laughed as he remembered the makeshift office’s pink carpet, grey couch and a table “where the top wasn’t even screwed on to the legs.”
Today the thriving firm has 50 employees spread over three offices, including a brand-new state-of-the-art building in Codrington Street, Cranbourne.
“We’ve definitely come a long way since Heather and I took over Highview in July 2001,“ Silvio said.
The new building has been a three-year dream that’s come to fruition for Silvio and fellow Highview directors Darren Crowther and David Sheahan. Their vision was to custom design a building that met the business’s needs, as well as the evolving needs of their clients; to have a cluster of trusted experts in the one convenient space to service all their clients’ financial needs.
Set over three levels, the light modern building boasts a suite of offices which run in a semi-circle around a central administration/ reception hub on the middle level. On the top level are a boardroom, smaller meeting room and large staff kitchen with outdoor deck. The bottom level has car parking and an ample storage room.
Darren Crowther is confident the new purpose built office will “meet the needs of the business and our clients now and well into the future.”
“To build a large building like this we’ve had to put a lot of financial planning into it. This didn’t just happen overnight. We started planning over three years ago.”
“What we’ve ended up with is exactly what we envisaged. It’s given us more car parking, lots more internal space with natural light, lots of storage, plus great street frontage. It’s put all staff on one level and given us room to grow.”
Silvio and David agree saying the building had exceeded expectations.
“You can just tell the staff are happier in the open collaborative environment,” Silvio said.
All three agree that the functionality of the new building, which was constructed by Cranbourne builder Aaron Middleton from AWM Constructions, is superb.
“I love the functionality, especially on the top floor,” said Silvio, demonstrating the sliding partition that when opened creates one large open space from the boardroom through the neighbouring smaller meeting room and into the lunch room.
“I genuinely believe this office has contributed to a lift in culture as well,” Darren added.
“In the previous office we were working on top of each other in disjointed office spaces. We now have staff all on the one level so we don’t feel disconnected.”
The completion of the new building has coincided with an expansion in the suite of services offered by Highview, Highview is no longer just your Accounting experts. The directors have embarked on a strategy to expand the firm’s areas of expertise now offering clients a complete financial solution in every sense of the word at Cranbourne. Their suite of services now includes Accounting, Financial Planning, Finance, Insurance, Bookkeeping & Legal advice.
The partners hope the new alliances with experienced experts will help Highview attract clients that require a suite of professional services as well as improve its service to existing ones.
“Our clients’ needs have changed; we knew we needed to offer services from a range of areas so now we have the right team of people around us. We have experts here that are at the top of their fields.”
The partners are adamant that as Highview continues to grow, it won’t lose its focus as a family orientated business.
The partners have known each other for decades. Silvio calls Heather Crowther his “second mum.”
“It definitely had its grass roots as a family business,” said Darren, who was coached by Silvio as a junior cricketer.
“As the business has grown, I still think we’ve got that culture now. Everyone who works here enjoys working here and enjoys each other’s company. As the business continues to grow it might develop more of a corporate feeling, but we are trying to put in a lot of effort keeping that family feeling alive.“
That effort includes hiring local “like minded” people and making sure that staff enjoy a steady stream of social functions.
“It’s about keeping the office fun. There are so many different social things we do, even though it’s at a large cost to the business we feel the value that it brings is absolutely worth it,” said Darren.
“Clients help with the family side of it too,” added David.
“A lot of the clients we know socially not just professionally.”
“While our numbers have changed, I think we’ve constantly invested back in the business from a cultural point of view. As the firm’s grown I don’t think it’s lost that personal touch, which is very important.”
Silvio and technical services manager Melissa Ortika are Highview’s longest serving full- time employees.
Heather Crowther still works part-time as the firm’s internal accountant.
“It’s fantastic to still have her involved and as a figure head to the staff,” said Silvio.
On 20 June Heather joined Silvio, David and Darren in hosting their charity morning tea to officially celebrate the opening of the new building.
It will be the first time many of the clients have seen the inside of the new Codrington Street complex.
“Our clients have been on the journey with us,“ Darren said.
“I’ve had many people congratulate us on how nice the new building is. I’ve been talking about this project for three years and now they can finally see the fantastic so proud of.”