Q&A with Deloitte Private manager - Tonia Farquharson

Deloitte Private manager, Tonia, is lucky enough to work in one of our most scenic locations in Queenstown. When she's not distracted by the view, she's out establishing a strong marketing presence and helping clients achieve their business goals. We chatted with her around the challenges of working in a small town and why she is such a strong advocate for SMEs taking advantage of technology.

What is your role with Deloitte Private and what are your key responsibilities?

As a manager in the Queenstown office, my role encompasses a wide variety of tasks. As Deloitte is relatively new to the Queenstown market, I spend time growing the business. This includes attending networking functions, assisting with Deloitte seminars, identifying opportunities, meeting with potential clients and writing proposals. In addition to that, I work with a variety of clients to help them achieve their business goals, assist them with their compliance work and act as a sounding board.

What’s been a real highlight for you in your role with clients?

I’ve very much enjoyed the process of bringing on board a new client and assisting them with the purchase of a business. They are new residents to NZ so to work with them and feed into their new life has been varied and interesting. It’s been rewarding to apply my accounting and business skills to the task and I’ve found that a little bit of local knowledge goes a long way.

What should SME clients be more aware of in your professional opinion?

The optimal use of technology. Whether it be the way you communicate with your customers, order goods and services, the accounting system you use or a myriad of other daily tasks, technology plays a significant role in running a SME. The time spent identifying the right fit for your business and then setting up your chosen tools, pays dividends quickly and frees up time to grow your business.

Our Queenstown office is small but in a stunning location! What are the challenges of working in a small town?

The first challenge is not being distracted by the scenery and the constant stream of friends that come to visit! Queenstown is a hugely diverse town, both in terms of its residents and the businesses that operate here. A key challenge (another word for opportunity, right?) is to fully understand the market. Once you have that nailed, it’s a matter of providing excellent service to that market. The advantages of working in a place like Queenstown are numerous but one of the things I enjoy most is the supportive and entrepreneurial culture that exists here.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Currently, I’m spending a fair amount of time ferrying a teenage boy and a couple of his friends around the South Island to play rugby. I’m also helping to develop the Wakatipu High School Foundations Business Partnership Program which involves more networking. I like to ski in winter, partake in a glass or two of our fine local drop with good friends (in winter and summer) and travel – anytime, anyhow. I try to walk Percy, our rather entitled fox terrier as often as possible. Finally, I’m working on adding gym visits to that mix but with limited success to date.

You live in what some would call a ‘holiday destination’ but where is your next travel location?

Christchurch for a rugby tournament! I’m also working on a trip to Scotland (where everyone can pronounce my surname properly) and Iceland for the northern lights – of course.

If you weren’t an accountant what would you be?

Any one of or a mixture of any of the following: Travel blogger, architect, property developer, professional fundraiser, owner/operator of a guest lodge, owner/operator of a winery or a ski bunny!


Tonia has over 25 years experience in the finance industry. As a former business owner herself, she understands the challenges that SME clients face and enjoys being a sounding board for them.

She has specialised in the tourism and construction sectors, be it as a financial controller of a listed company or as a trusted advisor. A Queenstown local for 15 years, Tonia joined Deloitte late last year and provides accounting and advisory services to individuals and businesses.