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ESS Small Business Affiliates

Andrew Geddes

B.Com (Queensland), Dip.Fin.Mgnt (New England), M.Ec (New England), FCPA, FAICD.

Current positions…

  • Director, Andrew Geddes Pty Ltd.
  • External Chairman, Six Multi- Discipline Professional Service Firms (all private companies).
  • Business Development Coach, selected (carefully!!!) firms.

Prior positions…

  • Non-Executive Director - Count Financial Limited (now part of CBA) 2000 – 2011
  • Non-Executive Director - Greencross Limited (Chairman since listing in 2005 through to 2014)
  • External Chairman - dozens of firms over the last three decades.

Andrew Geddes has been involved with business improvement work with professional service firms and smaller private companies for over forty years. He created one of Australia’s most successful business consulting and training companies in the process (FMRC Pty Ltd in Armidale, NSW).

He was the Inaugural Chairman of Greencross Limited, a veterinary group that was listed in 2005. It grew to become a top 200 ASX company in 2014, before being purchased by private equity in 2017.

Andrew spent twelve months in the late 90s working with accounting firms in the UK and North America. His material was enthusiastically received in these markets. He conducted practice development planning retreats, firm reviews, succession management and specialty service development sessions with firms of all sizes. He also spoke at conferences and seminars on a regular basis.

Andrew now specialises in assisting business owners create Senior Management Teams so that they can further develop their businesses and create succession solutions in time. He is an experienced External Chairman and Business Improvement Coach.

He currently works with both consulting and manufacturing engineering firms, surveying and land development firms, accounting firms, management consultants and IT scale ups.

He has run management skill development workshops for over forty years and is an experienced adult educator drawing on his chairmanship experience, business coaching and executive management positions.

Paul Barnaby

Accounting Industry Consultant and Australasian Manager for PlanGuru – Budgets, Cashflow and Projected Balance Sheets software

Beyond Accounting Technologies was founded in 1999 by Paul Barnaby. Beyond Accounting Technologies provides specialist implementation on the methodologies of:

  • Predictive Accounting
  • Corporate Financial Analysis
  • Budgets and Cashflow Forecasting
  • Business Management Consulting

Paul is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years' experience in the profession.

For 15 years, Paul was Managing Partner of a second tier national firm in Wellington NZ.

For the past 10 plus years he has operated a Queensland Australia-based specialist consulting practice. His input to any business is practical, hands-on and designed to give clients confidence in the process of strategic planning and forecasting, as well as knowledge of software tools.

Mark Holton

Director, Smithink


  • Master of Commerce Degree
  • Several Post Graduate Qualifications in Accounting and Management
  • Degree in Adult Education
  • Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning

Mark is a Founding Director of Smithink. He has more than 30 years’ experience as an Accountant and Tax Agent in practice. Mark has developed specialised skills in corporate presentations and training with extensive experience in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada.

Mark is a lively and entertaining speaker, whether as a keynote addressing large audiences, the facilitator of a Partner Retreat or Conference, or the leader of Professional Development course. His engaging speaking style means that his audiences are always alert and entertained at his events.

He is also a respected consultant in taxation and business management, in particular business advisory services implementation and delivery using key structured advisory systems and software.

Mark sits on the Board and is Honorary Treasurer of Ronald McDonald House Greater Western Sydney, a position he has occupied for 25 years. He is also the founding Chairman of The New South Wales Central Coast Academy of Sport for the past 15 years.

Mark Holton is one of Australia’s most respected trainers and presenters, specialising in the business and financial services sector. Mark has delivered corporate presentations and training to a range of audiences, from one-on-one sessions to large professional associations.

His ability to engage his audience, his passion for knowledge and his capacity to communicate complex systems in simple terms make him a leader in his field. His advice is valued by his clients, his peers and the many community organisations that he assists.

Mark is a much sought after speaker for seminars, conferences and other functions. He is able to successfully deliver a positive message using this extensive business knowledge, anecdote and his unique sense of humour.

Presentation Topics:
Below are some topics Mark has presented which can be tailored to specific audiences. He is also open to suggestions and will work with you and your specific requests.
1. Unlocking your practice's potential
2. Advisory solutions update
3. Mistake free implementations
4. Becoming a Financial Storyteller
5. Running the ideal board of advice meeting
6. Building exceptional customer service
7. Generating profit out of compliance
8. Seeing the financial impact key of key decisions

Mark Holton - Business Advisory Enabled Brochure 2020

Jordan Lowry

Managing Director, Blackstone Business Services – Human Resources and Workplace Health and Safety Consultants

Blackstone Business Services Approach

Blackstone is committed to offering tailored solutions to their clients.
They offer their clients a one-stop-shop for all of their workplace growth and compliance needs.

The goal of Blackstone Business Services is to help their clients maximise staff performance and increase their profits.

We know that clients each face their own set of unique challenges, therefore, Blackstone approaches each new engagement with the intent to gather specific information so that they can devise a tailored strategy and solution for the client's business.

The Blackstone Story

Blackstone was founded to revolutionise the workplace relations industry in Australia. The goal of the team at Blackstone is to cut through the obscurity in the marketplace and offer the most premium business development and employee management services at an affordable rate for all clients.


When it comes to putting in place documentation or dealing with employee issues people tend to be either “PROACTIVE” or “REACTIVE.” Quite often people are the latter. Because of this reactive approach, employers usually seek help only once there is a problem.

Unfortunately, if you have not followed the correct processes in line with Fairwork Legislation large amounts of damage can already have been done. This is why at Blackstone their focus is to make setting up the systems to help protect your business a painless and stress-free experience. At Blackstone, you can now afford to be “PROACTIVE.”


The vision of Blackstone is to provide an advanced HR and MANAGEMENT resource that you can call YOUR own no matter how large or small your business, company or organization may be.

As experts in the field of workplace culture, employee behaviours, human resources and WHS strategy, Blackstone will prove itself to be a valuable complement to your operation.

Amanda Gascoigne

Founder of Amanda Gascoigne Consulting and The Balanced Firm

Amanda has been a career accountant all her life, working in a Big 4 and then a mid-tier accounting firm. Amanda is an FCA and had a successful accounting practice for 18 years which she started from scratch in 1999.

After 18 years as a practice owner, Amanda pivoted and now coaches and consults to accounting practice owners wanting to embrace contemporary practice ways that are a win/win for all – themselves, their families, their teams and their clients.

Amanda developed quite a niche with accounting practice owners with children (or who would like to have children in the near future) who want a practice that not only ticks the boxes professionally but personally as well.

Amanda's bespoke coaching for accounting practice owners brings together her entrepreneurial and empathetic business and practice management skills.

Priscilla B Smith

Tax Agent, Senior Accountant, SME Advisor, Mentor

Priscilla started her accounting career in 1999, achieving a Bachelor of Tax Degree in 2006.

Always with her eye on the latest trends in the profession, she is an expert in the 'cloud' systems operation and implementation.

Tax Agent at present, after a career built working for several Accounting Firms as a Senior Accountant.

Runs her own Accounting Practice and her passion is supporting small business and mentoring young accounting professionals, in order to achieve success.

Business advise and tax planning is her strongest skills, achieved in a 20+ year career.

Developed 'The Modern Accounting Practice' model with a strong vision of the future, based on innovation, proactive customer service and efficiency in operations.

Amongst other talents a love for teaching, she is a great dancer and an amazing cook.

Matthew Karakoulakis



Matthew's presentation will be titled "Legal Issues Relating to COVID-19 and in Particular Business Contracts and Force Majeure".

Matthew was the founder and Principal Solicitor at AMK Law. He consistently engaged with small business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to expand by delivering high-level legal advice and services. Before starting AMK Law, Matthew worked in major firms and organisations including Clayton Utz, HWL Ebsworth and ASIC. As a result, he is very well-equipped to deal with matters of any size and complexity and working with a broad range of clients, from small and medium enterprises through to large Australian corporations, including Indigenous organisations and government bodies.