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Winding down . . . Accountant Andrew Hayes, of Andrew P. Hayes Ltd, at his Eden St office last Friday, the last day of his close to 50 year career in the profession. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Andrew Hayes (67) has always been a numbers man, so it was only natural he would work with them for a living. After close to 50 years as an accountant, 44 of those at his own practice, he has decided to hang up his calculator. He talked to reporter Daniel Birchfield about his life and career.

Q Where are you from originally?

I was born in Ranfurly, but I’ve been in Oamaru since 1959.

Q What brought you here?

Mum and Dad moved from Hawea because the kids had to go to high school and they didn’t want their kids going to boarding school. So, we moved to Weston for our schooling. I was at Weston [School], then Waitaki Boys’.

Q How did your career in accountancy begin?

I worked for a chartered accountant here in Oamaru for exactly five years and on the 3rd of December, 1975 I started my practice.

Q Why was it a profession you wanted to get into to start with?

I had done accounting in all my secondary school years. I enjoyed it. I had a teacher that sort of lit the candle on that. It didn’t really happen, if you like, until the end of my seventh-form year [year 13] at Waitaki that I thought maybe this is what I’d like to do’. Here I am. I’ve always been a numbers man. In this game that tends to help. I’ve also wanted to basically do a good job and again, in the accountancy aspect you need to do a good job because people rely on you, and I think I’ve achieved that.

Q What did your day-to-day job involve?

Mainly arriving at work between 5.30am and 6am and hoping to be home by 5.30pm. Basically, we provide a full accountancy service and tax and business advisory service, and have done since day one. In the early period of the practice we also had the accountancy and secretarial work for Robertsons Hardware Ltd, which was a public company until it was taken over. We also did an awful lot of work for the agricultural pest destruction boards for all of North Otago and right into Central Otago, and also the Hakataramea Valley. That all disappeared with local government re-organisation in 1989-90. From there we had fairly major accountancy for diabetes for the whole of New Zealand. I was a treasurer of Diabetes New Zealand and a director and administrator of that as well.

Q How has the technology changed over the years?

Practically, it’s changed from doing everything by hand. When I started, electronic calculators were a novelty. We had a manual adding machine .. and a manual calculator. Nowadays, everything is done either on electronic calculators or, largely, computers. But, looking after tax returns, looking after what’s going on, looking after what a client is able to claim and what income they should return, that really hasn’t changed. How you get there and how you process that certainly has.

Q What are you hobbies and interests outside of work?

I’ve had a 50-plus year involvement with the Oamaru Garrison Band. I’m currently the conductor of that band, so that’s my largest hobby and one that occupies me the most. I am a life member of the Upper Waitaki RSA, simply because I’ve done more than 55 years of Anzac Day services up there, plus in Oamaru.

Q What are your plans for retirement?

The first job is to tidy up the jobs that aren’t going to get done today and the second job is to rush home and do the jobs that haven’t been done for 40 years. After that I’ll think about what I’m going to do. We want to go back to Germany and the UK and Scotland. That’s certainly on the cards. Hopefully, I can break the habit of waking up at five in the morning.