After 41 years of loyal service, Michael Twomey last month retired from Twomeys, a local accounting firm that he had helped build from the ground up.
Michael started at the accounting firm in 1980, taking the position following the retirement of his father, Frank Twomey.
Frank established the first practice in Cootamundra in 1948 after coming back from the Second World War and completing an accounting course that was sponsored by the Return Service League.
Upon finishing the course, Frank was offered an opportunity supported by the RSL to move to Cootamundra or Lismore, allowing him to progress to the next stage of his career and set up his practice.
Due to malaria he developed in New Guinea, Frank didn’t want to go to Lismore because of the mosquitos – so Cootamundra was his choice.
In 1970, Michael’s older brother Geoff joined his father in partnership.
“In May 1980 dad was unwell again, and Geoff asked me if I wanted to come to Coota,” Michael told The Times about his long and successful career in the accounting firm.
Michael had been married for five years by that stage of his life and didn’t have any children, so along with his wife from Sydney, they were both willing to give Cootamundra a try.
Michael was born in Cootamundra in 1951, before moving to Sydney with his family in 1955.
“As a result of an illness dad picked up in New Guinea in the Second World War, the whole family was moved to Sydney in 1955 and we stayed there for four years,” Michael continued.
“I came back from there when I was eight and went to school in Cootamundra.
“I finished my last couple of years at school in Sydney, then I did a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of New South Wales.
“For the next 10 years or more, I was working for two international accounting firms. I was based in Sydney and London, while also travelling to the Middle East for work.”
When Michael started at the firm, the number of employees in the business stayed at seven as his father retired at the same time, before quickly jumping up to 20-odd employees.
“In 1985 we bought out an accountants practice in Coota. Then we came to Harden and bought the accounting practice in Murrumburrah in the late ’90s, while also expanding to Young around the same time,” Michael recalled.
In the early 2000s, the business grew to over 80 employees, with Twomeys owning branches in Cootamundra, Harden, Cowra and Young, as well as larger practices in Sydney and Wagga Wagga.
“Overseeing and being part of the growth was rewarding,” Michael told The Times.
“None of the growth happens if you don’t have good people supporting you.”
Michael recalled one of the most pivotal and challenging parts of his career was recruiting the best appropriate staff to meet his vision.
“Maintaining the culture within the team, that would’ve been the hardest thing, along with recruiting good, qualified people,” he said.
“You’ve got to have the right people to support good business and to get the structure perfect.
“The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about my working life is dealing with good people, both within the team and within the client portfolio.
“A benefit about living in the towns we do is that there is very low staff turnover. Whereas when you go to larger centres, the staff turnover is much greater.”
Michael has been transitioning towards retirement for five years, deciding to now fully retire and commence the next chapter of his life.
Three years ago, Michael moved from five to four days a week, then down to three days, and in the last 12 months just two days a week.
During that period, Michael transitioned his client portfolio over to the other partners in the firm.
In his retirement, Michael is looking forward to getting out to his hobby farm in Crookwell more often, as well as lowering his golf handicap closer to where it was in the past.
Michael has five children who live throughout Australia and he wants to travel around and see them in retirement.
His children are situated in Wagga, Melbourne, on a farm in Forbes, while he has a daughter and son in Sydney – the daughter is a doctor, while his son is planning on moving to Luxembourg next year for work.
Michael planned on going on a holiday to Italy last year but was unable to due to COVID, so he will see as much of Australia as possible before the international borders open back up.
He also has a host of ex-clients scattered throughout regional Queensland, which he plans on visiting via a long road trip when allowed.
Michael provided a brief snippet of parting wisdom, advice that he has stayed true to throughout the course of his career.
“There are negatives in your history, but if you are to reflect on anything, you reflect on the positives, because reflecting on the negatives will not help at all. You address them and move on,” he urged.
Michael’s retirement decision is one that is well-deserved, as he has contributed to a firm for decades that has become a highly reputable institution in the region.
Twomeys posted their heartfelt praise for Michael and thanked him for his decades of service on their Facebook page upon his retirement late last month.
“It goes without saying that 41 years of service is an incredible achievement, and this sort of dedication is what businesses and communities are built around,” the Facebook post read.
“Michael has been on quite a journey throughout his time at Twomeys. He has watched the business evolve from a single office with seven staff (back in 1980), to having over thirty employees spread across four offices throughout regional NSW.
“Throughout his impressive career, Michael has developed a loyal and diverse client base who will miss him and his intimate understanding of their business needs.
“Due to COVID-19 restrictions we have had to postpone our plans to celebrate Michael’s career, however, we hope to reschedule as soon as we are able to safely do so.
“Thank you, Michael, for your incredible commitment to Twomeys and the legacy that you and the Twomey Family have left us.
“You will certainly be missed, and we wish you all the best for your retirement.”