Bay of Plenty’s largest independent accounting practice, Ingham Mora, put forward two of their most exciting young associates as personalities for this year’s 100 People. Alice Scapens and Gracy Qian each have a wealth of experience and fascinating personal stories they are pleased to share.
Gracy Qian Associate
Ingham Mora associate Gracy Qian has overcome numerous challenges over the last 21 years through sheer determination and hard work.
She travelled from China and lived alone in New Zealand from a young age, studying and graduating with first class honours, then building a successful professional accounting career here – it has been a journey marked by numerous achievements.
“Having lived and studied in Christchurch after relocating from Beijing 21 years ago, by comparison I found Tauranga incredibly open and inviting,” she says. “I love working with business owners in the Bay of Plenty – they are warm and knowledgeable and many of them have become like family to me over the last 13 years.”
Gracy joined Ingham Mora in August 2022 and says she is enjoying the team culture and getting to know her colleagues. “I am also really enjoying building relationships with the small medium enterprise (SME) owners. Many are ‘Mum and Dad’ family business owner-operators, which means we can build more intimate working relationships than is usual in the corporate sector.”
Gracy is a chartered accountant who holds a Bachelor of Commerce with first class honours. She joined Ingham Mora from a ‘big four’ accounting firm where she had worked her way up over 12 years. She enjoys working with startup business owners, helping with business structure and strategy planning matters and adding value to their businesses.
Most of her clients are family-owned businesses in retail, horticulture, trade, hospitality and property investment.
Having been born in Beijing, she can speak fluent Mandarin. This enables her to translate and communicate technical and non-technical messages in Mandarin.
When asked, “What have been your most significant professional and personal achievements?”, Gracy is philosophical: “My entire life has been a progression of significant achievements,” she says.
“My greatest single achievement is becoming the person I am today.”
And as far as future achievements may go, “Ultimately, I’d like to one day make partner at Ingham Mora. I’d like to help grow the business in a way that ensures the staff and the clients are happy,” she says.
On the subject of future long-term personal achievements, “That’s easy – I’d like to have a family reunion and sponsor Mum and Dad to come to New Zealand.”
A personal goal that everyone who knows Gracy agrees she has well and truly earned.
Alice Scapens Associate
“I love the Bay, and I particularly love the weather in the Bay – except ‘this’ summer of course,” jokes Ingham Mora associate Alice Scapens.
Alice has been with Ingham Mora since 2014. Tauranga born and bred, she left the region to study, then went on to work in tourism in Rotorua before returning to Tauranga for further study and work. The self-confessed boating and fishing fanatic is convinced there’s no better place for her and her family than Tauranga Moana.
Alice admits that with the pressure of a professional accounting career she is grateful her wife Tracy willingly takes on a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ when it comes to the care of their two young children.
At risk of being labelled a geek, she readily admits that she loves the software and the ‘fabulous’ tools available in the modern business and accounting environment.
“I thrive on extracting good information and generating quality business data to help businesses help themselves.
“I like to be looking forward, helping to shape good outcomes for the future using the best available tools rather than just looking back.”
She is excited that cloud-based accounting software is helping put more power in the hands of business owners; for Alice this means she can have higher-level input and more impact on her clients’ business performance as a result – “That’s a win all round,” she says.
Another pet passion of Alice’s is her work for not-for-profit sector. She has worked for numerous not-for-profit groups over the years and finds it extremely satisfying to be part of helping them do what they do.
“It feels good to share my expertise for the benefit of the wider community,” she says.
Alice is a specialist in Xero, tax planning, business advisory services, and cashflow and budgeting – she provides her clients with more than just traditional compliance needs.
“I like to think I offer expert business advice that can help my clients thrive in business and in life in general. Every business owner is looking for different outcomes. I enjoy partnering with my clients to help them achieve their goals, whether those goals be rapid business growth, or simply more time at the beach with their family.”
Alice is keen to grow her base of clients further. “I’ve worked my way up from student/accountant, intermediate, team-leader and then to associate – ultimately I’d love to be able to grow and give more in a partner role one day.”