Date posted: 18/12/2017 4 min read

Why employee happiness matters

Keeping staff happy means they will keep clients happy, says Quintessential Equity co-founder Harry Rosenberg FCA, who shares lessons he’s learned in accounting and advisory.

In Brief

  • Treat your team as the most important people, and clients as the second-most important – an unhappy employee can’t make a client happy.
  • As the father of six children, Rosenberg has always prioritised family, while managing a successful career.
  • His parents were Holocaust survivors and encouraged him to find a secure, high-status job.

Fact file Harry Rosenberg FCA

  • Co-founder and Director of Investor Relations of diversified property group Quintessential Equity.
  • Former partner at Nexia ASR, a top 20 Australian practice.
  • Founder and former partner of BKR Rosenbergs, a top 100 practice that became part of Nexia ASR in 2006.

As a leader, I treat my team as number one and clients as number two. I don’t see how an unhappy employee can make a client happy, and happy clients are good clients who stay on board, refer their friends and pay their bills. For happy team members, you need to offer good conditions, interesting and challenging work and the opportunity for both junior and senior staff to interact with clients regularly.

[While I was] a senior partner of BKR Rosenbergs, the practice featured in the Top 100 accounting practices in Australia. We empowered managers with full access to clients and responsibility for most client requirements. This enabled partners to spend time on new business development and on strengthening relationships with existing clients. The result was a highly-leveraged practice with high revenue per partner and strong growth.  

(Pictured: Harry Rosenberg FCA)

BKR Rosenbergs became part of Nexia ASR a top 20 accounting practice. One of the most important leadership decisions we made was to appoint a CEO to administer the practice to the best possible standards. This allowed partners to focus on the high value/return work of servicing existing clients and attracting new clients.

The inhumanity my parents experienced in concentration camps has made me very aware of the importance of showing consideration to other people in all circumstances
Harry Rosenberg Co-founder, Quintessential Equity

When the GFC arrived, clients had a lot of money sitting idle because they’d exited shares. I thought a commercial property syndicate would be a good investment for them and sought the help of a super-impressive young client with relevant experience, Shane Quinn. That was very successful. One thing led to another and together we launched diversified property company Quintessential Equity in 2010, when I was 61. It was a unique opportunity to build on the goodwill and trust I had created with my clients. I thought that together, Shane and I could really achieve something, and we have, delivering consistently high risk-mitigated returns to wholesale investors through commercial property.

When establishing Quintessential Equity, I maintained the same approach to leadership and a happy team, creating that culture again from scratch. As an accountant, my role was to help clients create and retain wealth while being able to sleep at night. I want the same thing for our investors, so that also hasn’t changed.

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Regardless of the circumstances, I’ve always prioritised family. I’ve got six kids. They’re grown now, but I made it to every parent teacher meeting, every assembly, every sports day. At work, I consistently focus on integrity, transparency and acknowledging team members. With colleagues, I’ve also established a written “Quintessential Way” to guide our team towards ethical, long-term success.

My parents were both Holocaust survivors. That experience meant my late father was all about security and he encouraged me to become an accountant because he saw it as a secure, high-status job. It turned out to be a great decision. I had an amazing time as an accountant and was privileged to work with fantastic colleagues and clients who taught me so much, and who became lasting friends. I was successful far beyond my initial expectations.

The inhumanity my parents experienced in concentration camps has made me very aware of the importance of showing consideration to other people in all circumstances. It has meant I have always looked at the outcomes of decisions being made, advice being given, from the position of the person on the other side.

Related: How to choose the right office culture for you

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