Chartered accountant Hayden Belton has committed himself to a long term future in Wanganui by buying into accountancy company Bryce Smith & Associates.
And 10 years after finishing his training the former Waitotara farm boy said he was ready. He became the co-owner of the company two weeks ago, and fellow owner Bryce Smith said it was good to have a mixture of ages.
Brought up on a farm in the Waitotara Valley, Mr Belton still gets out and does some shearing at weekends. He trained in accountancy at Massey University and worked for Audit New Zealand in Palmerston North immediately after that.
He then landed a job with Tower Managed Funds in Wellington, which he followed with a year in Canada, and four and a half years in the United Kingdom before returning to New Zealand.
Since then he has spent three years working as a chartered accountant. He received his certificate of public practice in October, which means he can have his own clients and his work will not need to be reviewed by Mr Smith.
The company he has bought into has four chartered accountants, one accountancy technician and four other "important accounting support staff".
It was created when a larger accountancy company split up in January this year.
Bryce Smith & Associates does a general spread of accountancy work, with some for overseas clients and a specialisation in trusts. The company also provides advice to businesses.
"It's a lot easier to give advice early on than to clean up the mess later. It's more rewarding too, and the better our clients do, the better we do," Mr Belton said.
Their assessment of Wanganui's current economic situation is that it could be better, especially for retailers. "As a general sort of rule Wanganui shrinks after the main centres shrink and we don't recover until after they start recovering. We are just hoping that it's around the corner," Mr Smith said.