It's all about the client: staying client-centred in the age of automation


Partner at Victorian Firm Fawcett & Pickersgill, Jim Pickersgill has been a Count Authorised Representative for nearly two decades. He was recently awarded the Pinnacle Award this year for dedication and commitment as a Count Ambassador. Jim shares his experience of being a Count Member and how it has helped shape his career and grow his business.


What do you love most about financial planning?

The more I got involved in the financial planning side of our business, the more I loved it. I found it far more rewarding than compliance work within tax… the client is there because they need to be there, not because the ATO said so. I love engaging with clients and getting a firm understanding of their whole life – it comes naturally to me. This may be the challenge for accountants and advisers, who rely too much on technology – knowing how to have a conversation with the client.


What’s your strength as a firm?

We’re constantly hearing about disruption, change and robo advice, but my opinion is still that people are starved of human contact in business. At our firm, no matter who they see they’ll get someone that listens to them compassionately and treats them as a person of value, regardless of their bank balance. As a result, we don’t need to advertise at all. All our clients come to us through word of mouth.


What does the support of Count mean to you?

I can’t speak highly enough of Count. My Count Practice Development Manager, Vicki Massey, is always there, and I can go to anyone within Count. If there’s anything that we need our hand held on until we get it right, they are so accommodating – while we’re only a small player in the Count family, we’re as important as anyone else. Their level of service has encouraged us to become a much better firm.


How have you contributed to Count?

As the Victorian and Tasmanian Advisory Council Representative for Count, my role is to advocate on behalf of other Count Members with the Count executives. We’re there for the Members and we help them to own their own destiny. And as a result of my involvement, my confidence and leadership skills have all improved significantly.


Tell us about winning the Pinnacle Award.

I didn’t even know I was up for this award! I was actually filming all the other Count people receiving their awards. When the MC mentioned that the Pinnacle winner was someone on the Victorian Regional Board, that’s when I knew it was me. So I said to my partner, “Can you take the camera, because I think I’ve just won this!” It was such an honour to be put in a category of people whom I admire and respect. We’re just a little rural practice, but we think we’re doing the right thing and we’re being rewarded for that by the community and our peers. It’s a wonderful feeling.