Tony Brady is the godfather of the Oamaru accounting community. He talks to Daniel Birchfield about a life in the numbers game.
Tony Brady has a soft spot for numbers – he worked with them for more than 50 years after all.
Even though he retired as a fulltime accountant in 2010, he still helps community groups and organisations with their finances when needed.
“There’s a huge need in this community for people to do what used to be called auditing,” the 79-year-old says.
“I’ve set up a system called [financial] examining .. it’s important that they have someone that can look at their finances and advise them how to do it and the work they do is suitably accounted for.
“It reassures the members of the clubs their finances are being properly managed and accounted for.”
Mr Brady helps about 65 various groups around the community, and thoroughly enjoys it.
“I get a lot of pleasure out of it. A lot of them I’ve known for years. It’s more of a community service from my point of view. Someone in the community needs to do it. To the best of my knowledge, there are no willing auditors based in Oamaru.”
He described the work as “interesting”.
“You think you’re a detective sometimes .. a bit of sleuth.”
Financial management is an important part of any community group’s operations and in some cases can determine whether they survive.
Mr Brady had some sound advice for those who regularly applied for funding grants.
“There are two rules. One is do exactly what’s on the form; and second, pretend the organisation has not heard of you at all before – even if you have done a submission for a grant before. You’re one of several hundred that are applying and they are not going to remember you.
“That works. There’s money out there to be had.”
If there is anyone you can rely on for financial advice, it is Mr Brady, who moved to Oamaru from Roxburgh with his family at the age of 3.
He left St Kevin’s College in 1954 as dux and joined Howard Stott in December 1954 as a fresh-faced 17-year-old.
“I walked off the stage at St Kevin’s at the end of the year on a Friday and I was at work on the Monday. It was a great way to learn, though.
“I was coming in and I learned the trade as I went along, instead of having to know how the office worked and have 10 clients early on.”
He started studying to become a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand in 1954 and qualified in 1965.
In 1969, the firm of Howard Scott changed its name to Jones, Stott and Brady.
In 1976, Colin Wollstein joined the partnership to ultimately replace Mr Stott – Mr Jones had earlier retired – and, from 1981, the firm was Brady and Wollstein.
The partnership was sold to WHK Taylors Otago in 2009, and in March 2010, Mr Brady called time on his accountancy career after 56 years.
Throughout his career he held a number of director positions, at companies such as Network Waitaki, Regina Confectionery (now Rainbow Confectionery), Mackenzie Contracting Ltd and Pulse Business Solutions.
He was also heavily involved in scouts and was a group and scout leader at the St Patrick’s troop between 1955 and 2015.
Mr Brady was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1984, served as treasurer and project manager at the Awamoa Gardens Croquet Club, and has been a council member and treasurer of the Oamaru Savage Club – a local entertainment group.
A keen sportsman, Mr Brady now enjoys playing croquet.
He also represented North Otago in rugby between 1957 and 1962 and trialled for the South Island side in 1961 and 1962, while he played football for the South Island schoolboys’ side in 1952.
These days, he’s happy to spend as much time as he can with wife Moneuan, whom he married in 1961, and their eight children.
“I’m pretty happy really,” he said.