Since its official foundation in 2008, WAIS, the WA division of Jirsch Sutherland, has evolved into one of Perth’s most prominent and respected insolvency practices.
Founding Partners Kim Strickland and Chris Williamson have witnessed massive changes since they formed WAIS – although their professional partnership began many years earlier. Since then, they have been appointed to some of WA’s most challenging liquidations and bankruptcies.
In 2017 Kim and Chris came “full circle” from where they first met by moving into new premises in the heart of the CBD – directly opposite where they began working together at Melsom Wilson in 1989. The firm is now situated on Level 49, 108 St George’s Terrace – the landmark building that overlooks the historic Palace Hotel.
“In fact, we have worked together on three of the four corners of the William Street and St George’s Terrace intersection over the past 28 years,” Kim says.
WAIS team continues to expand
WAIS is the only Perth-based insolvency practice that regularly visits key regional WA communities including Busselton, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Albany and Esperance. They also service areas such as Geraldton, Karratha, Port Hedland and Broome.
In 2014, in what was then described as “a logical and exciting move to further develop the business”, WAIS joined forces with Jirsch Sutherland, combining decades of local experience with substantially more in national expertise.
Today, WAIS boasts a 25-strong team that recently welcomed three Graduate Accountants into the firm.
For Rinaldi Rorimpandey, working with WAIS was more appealing that “just the traditional accounting sectors such as Tax or Audit.”
“The insolvency sector is unique in that it involves real time, major commercial decision-making in addition to the financial constraints a company might be experiencing,” he says. “I believe working in this sector will enhance my interpersonal skills beyond what other sectors would.”
Dharshika Sriskandadas agrees that insolvency involves more than typical accounting: “This intrigued me because of the unknown and the ability to never have two cases the same.”
Fellow graduate Mary Ng says that whenever she speaks to her peers in the insolvency industry, “they always have the most interesting stories to tell”.
“While insolvency accounting can be challenging, I believe that it can be just as rewarding as it supports businesses through the insolvency process and in some cases can even help turn struggling businesses around,” she explains. “Insolvency accounting provides the best exposure to all disciplines of accounting and offers opportunities to think outside of the box.”
Working alongside WA’s dynamic business community
WAIS believes the heart of its business lies in the enduring relationships the team has built with business people, financiers, accounting and legal firms of all sizes and in all corners of the country. This enables them to handle personal and corporate insolvencies across a wide range of industries.
“They know that we will always support them and look after their clients,” says Chris. “Whatever the problems, whatever the circumstances.”
When businesses are facing significant and sensitive financial issues, emotions run high.
“We can’t make bad news entirely disappear. However, we can find the best possible way forward for our clients,” he says. “That means supporting and protecting them, being absolutely candid about what can and cannot be achieved, ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and respectfully, and bringing about a resolution as swiftly as humanly possible.”