Craig Dunshea -
Dunshea’s Deli and Automat
Craig operates two eateries in Khandallah, Dunshea’s Deli and Automat. Dunshea’s Deli, set up in 2011, is a cafe and delicatessen open seven days a week. In 2014, next door, Craig established Automat, a fully-licensed restaurant and takeaway for 40, open six days a week. Both eateries are really popular, particularly with the local community.
Why did you first approach LCA?
We set up Dunshea’s Deli ourselves because we were a bit gung-ho and wanted to get into it more than anything else. We were just focussing on finding our feet, bringing in as many customers as possible, and increasing our turnover. I was on top of my cash flow, but we weren’t looking at the best way to set up our books and accounting systems – probably out of naivety more than anything else. About six months in, I found that the paperwork for company filing and year-end requirements were more complicated than I expected, and it was just another thing for me to get my head around. It was pretty clear to me that it was time to bring in an expert. That’s when we started working with LCA.
What has LCA helped you with?
Arran and the LCA team prepare all of the tax and company filings I was previously struggling with. If I ever have any questions I can always fire them through, and they’ll either give me an answer or we’ll schedule a meeting. We catch up fairly frequently to discuss whatever’s going on, and they make the accounting side of things clear for me.
One big challenge I faced was when the IRD audited Automat. They thought that the cash takings were too low because of my unique business model. They wanted all of my business and personal financials, which was reams of statements and information. So on top of trying to run my businesses day-to-day, it was a pretty stressful period. LCA gave me great support during that time, which made a huge difference. They even joined me for meetings with the IRD to help keep everything on track. After six months of being investigated, the IRD agreed that everything was above board.
I do my own Xero and payroll because I find it’s an excellent way to keep on top of all of my expenses and income. But it’s comforting knowing that if anything tricky crops up I can get in touch with someone and quickly correct it, and also that there’s always that professional oversight to what I’m doing. I never have to worry when it comes time to pay tax because LCA handles all of that for me, and I know that my accounts will be correct.
How has LCA impacted your business?
For me, especially in all the uncertainty, LCA is a valuable constant force in my business. When I’m thinking about the future, understanding where my asset lies at any time is so important. I can always rely on them to give me the best advice so I feel confident in my decision-making (such as if it’s best to purchase something outright, get finance, or even wait until a better time). They help me understand the tax implications of those choices and make sure everything is filed correctly as well. In the post-COVID-19 situation, I’ve found their ongoing guidance invaluable – especially as I make decisions about applying for business support options or loans.
What would you say to other businesses about LCA?
Working in the business every day, you’re always focussing on what’s happening right now. When you’re busy it’s easy to think you must be earning well, but in reality your expenses could be high – you could even be making a loss. On the other hand, if you have made a profit, you've got to make sure you have budgeted to pay the tax. So I think to build a successful business, you need an outside force that isn’t as emotionally invested as you are. LCA can provide that for you. They’re great at walking you through something, pushing you forward, or even holding you back sometimes! They’ve got a solid base of knowledge, a team of people who have various skills in different areas, and they are really approachable. My wife Kerryn even uses LCA in her business, Kerryn Dunshea Interior Design, and she’s had a similarly great experience!