Meet Riann Umaga-Marshall, owner and director of Convex Accounting Limited.
Convex was established in 2011 and Riann has recently expanded the business from Wellington to Tauranga in order to be closer to family.
Convex is a chartered accounting and advisory/consulting team driven to support New Zealand businesses doing exciting things.
“We aim to make the numbers and the technical jargon understandable, and to help businesses in their decision making, through down to earth, quality advice.”
Get to know one of our Chamber Members in our quick fire Q&A.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the business:
Ko Riann Umaga-Marshall ahau (I am Riann Umaga-Marshall)
Ko Ngai te Rangi te Iwi, Tauwhao te hapu, Rangiwaea te Marae (Ngai te Rangi is my Tribe, Tauwhao is my subtribe and Rangiwaea is my Marae).
Ko Whakatohea me Tuhourangi oku iwi hoki (Whakatohea and Tuhourangi are also tribes I affiliate to).
I’m an owner and director of Convex. We provide compliance services to small and medium-sized businesses and more direct business development consultancy to a wide range of businesses in Wellington and now the Bay of Plenty.
We are a team of 12, including two directors. Our founder and CEO Hamish Mexted started the business in 2011 and we’ve grown year-on-year to where we are now. I became the second director six years ago and I’m now heading our expansion here in Tauranga.
Our team is built around a core accounting team, who take care of all our clients daily. We then have a support team making sure all the communications are running well and all our clients are receiving good service as well as being available to assist our accountants. We really couldn’t do what we do without our people.
We also have Convex Legal working alongside us. They have strong skills in commercial contracting and conveyancing as well as trusts, wills and all matters in this space. Having both teams working alongside each other creates real synergies and can bounce ideas off each other.
What makes your business different?
We like to challenge the status quo. We’re not afraid to change the script on what and how professionals and business should work. Finding our space in the accounting/advisory landscape is always changing as we identify what fits with our values and who we are as people. We are accepting and welcoming of change, however it may shake things up – this goes for our own operations and what we might advise or recommend to our clients.
Why did you move to Tauranga and expand your business here?
I whakapapa to Rangiwaea Island (Tauwhao hapu) and the connection to this whenua has always been strong for me. My husband and I wanted to come back to raise our children on their ancestral lands.
From a business perspective, Hamish and I had always looked at expanding into another region. Tauranga made sense with the growth of the city and the region. Another big pull was the large Māori economy up here and where we could fit in.
Tell us about your dedicated support for Maori businesses, trusts, PSGEs etc:
As directors who identify as Māori, it is really important for us to create space in our business to work with Māori organisations. Bringing our skills and knowledge as accountants and business consultants, along with our cultural competence and understanding, creates a space for us to really contribute.
For example, working with whanau trusts that own large land assets and are creating or have created businesses to grow the wealth of their people (socially, spiritually as well as monetary) is powerful stuff. As a people, Māori traditionally have a collective way of working and it is rarely about the individual or nuclear group. This is a difference from your non-Maori business where it can often (not always) be about the individual and what you get out of it.
Values of kaitiakitanga taiao (taking care of the environment), manaakitanga (caring for others), whanaaungatanga (family and people) are all values that are put at the forefront of decision making in Maori business. Sometimes these values don’t fit traditional business dealings, but it’s what can make a difference.
We can help to bridge some of these gaps to ensure values are held strong but can be commercially viable. The need is often not just the technical skill, but also the relationships and communications between Māori business and non. We hope to work more in this area as we feel our skills are complementary.
What have been some big changes to your industry as a result of COVID?
The push to flexible working arrangements, and making it work for your staff and the business.
Knowing that business can happen with less face to face or bricks and mortar has created a mindset change for many business owners. It’s pushed many in our industry to talk more with their clients and make space for them. This is a positive change for our industry.
What do you enjoy the most about running your own business?
The favourite part is the potential. I see potential in our business and what we can make of it.
Sometimes this gets me distracted and picking up too many things to chase! I see potential in our staff and how we can help grow them. Also, seeing and being around the potential in our business communities – what and how they are making a difference out there.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered and how have you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges what many other working parents face… on top of being a somewhat overachiever or control freak (whatever we want to call it haha).
I want to be good at all things, but this often just creates a spiral of stress and poor mental health as you try to do all of the things. Being an available leader, contactable, responsive, on top of running a business, and being available for your children and family, all the while looking after your own health and wellbeing… sometimes it’s a lot, but I’m learning and finding ways to balance the pressure (mostly from myself).
I’m also an empath so constantly find time to help others. This is not a bad thing, but needs to be managed so you have the space on availability for those who need you in your close circle.
Business challenges us all the time, but we are pretty good at working through the challenges, making decisions and knowing nothing is that bad and we will find a way through. I’m very solutions driven with a mindset that there is always a work-around.
What are your goals for 2021? Personal and professional.
Personally, I’ve probably achieved it. We are home living on Rangiwaea Island. I commute to town most days driving myself on our Stabicraft 2100 boat. I’m confident on the water and loving it.
My tamariki have settled into the island life and their commute daily to Matakana School. They are thriving and learning so many new things. My husband, Tumatauenga Umaga-Marshall, has just onboarded to work with us in helping to develop the Tauranga business as a relationship manager and all-round boss assistant, so that big goal for this year is sussed. From here, as mentioned above, it’s about finding time to look after my own personal wellbeing.
Professionally, this year is about finding our market, our position, our purpose as a business here in Tauranga. Finding where we can add the most value to the Tauranga business community. I’m confident that we are on our way there now both as Convex Accounting Ltd and myself personally.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a mum of four (14, 9, 6, and 2) and together with my love Tu and our wider island whanau we are raising strong, confident children, who know where they are from and who they are. This takes time and commitment, so most minutes not working revolve around them and our community.