Posted on 10/3/2022
Since its foundation by Alic Knispel in 1914, Nippy’s has evolved into a multi-faceted company, operating citrus farms and packing facilities and producing a wide range of fresh and long-life juice and milk products for domestic and overseas markets. Still run by the Knispel family today, with father and son Jeff and Ben Knispel at the helm as Joint Managing Directors, Nippy’s is the only company to manufacture fresh fruit juice in Adelaide and takes pride in managing their products from farm to table.
Based out of their South Australian head office in Regency Park, the company employs nearly 200 staff across three sites in Adelaide and the Riverland, producing a large range of fresh and long-life juice and milk products for domestic and overseas markets.
Perks has been supporting Nippy’s since 2017, providing accounting, specialist taxation advisory and human resources support to the company and its staff. Perks also has a close relationship with the Knispel family, supporting them with their personal wealth management needs through Perks Private Wealth.
According to Perks Accounting and Business Services Director, Kim Bigg, the relationship sees Perks operate as a virtual extension of the Nippy’s business management team, supporting their internal capabilities and offering expert advice on key matters.
“As a family-run business, they don’t have a large in-house finance team, and their workforce is primarily focussed on operations. However, that’s not to say that they’re not capable – Ben has a finance background and his wife, Elvira is a CPA and works as the business’ Finance Manager,” Kim said.
“While we do provide traditional accounting services such as year-end taxation and auditing, it is our input and advice on more complex matters where Nippy’s gets the most value-add from us. We can provide a sounding board and expert external insight, as we have a strong understanding of their business and their goals.”
“For example, when they’ve sought to add more citrus farmland to their portfolio, we can easily plug in and provide transactional and tax advice through that process as we know their business and the sector that they operate in well.”
When Perks first came on board with Nippy’s in 2017, Kim Bigg brought in specialist Tax Consulting Director, Neil Oakes, to assist with a thorough review of the company’s accounts as the Perks Team familiarised themselves with the business.
It was during this process that Kim and Neil identified several opportunities that have allowed the Nippy’s group to take advantage of and optimise their structure.
“Perks helped us to identify several opportunities that had previously gone unnoticed,” said Ben.
“In particular, a specific depreciation opportunity that the Tax Consulting Team identified yielded a great outcome for our business. Thanks to this attention to detail from Perks, we managed to save a significant amount of tax in that first year alone.”
Having realised early benefits from the relationship with the Perks tax consulting and accounting Teams, Ben was keen to understand how the firm could help with other areas of the business that needed attention.
In particular, Nippy’s needed assistance managing its workforce of nearly 200 employees as the company did not have its own HR manager. Ben was overseeing most of these responsibilities, which was taking away from his focus of running the business. In addition, due to the significant growth of the business, their HR structures had not kept pace and required review to ensure compliance with modern standards.
“When we first started working with Nippy’s, we conducted a ‘HR health check,’ wherein we identified an urgent gap in their current business. The first need was clear from the initial check, and so we agreed to undertake an audit of their HR documentation as a priority,” Cecilia said.
“Initially, this involved a process of reviewing and updating all workforce contracts, position descriptions and payroll audit, to ensure everyone was being paid appropriately and was classified against the correct award. We also prepared a HR manual for Nippy’s with all of the policies they needed for a business of their size, as well as an employee handbook, which picks up those key policies in a way that is easy to digest.”
“While this is an area we specialise in, it’s quite a labour-intensive exercise for a workforce of that size. If you were a business owner reviewing all of this, while also trying to run a business, it could be overwhelming.”
Following this initial tranche of work, Perks People Solutions continued to support Nippy’s on an as-needs basis over the next couple of years. However, in 2019, Ben realised he needed an extra level of support and turned to the firm’s HR on Demand™ service, which provides a fully outsourced HR solution for companies.
“The service is ideal for businesses like Nippy’s, as we don’t have a dedicated internal HR resource,” shared Ben.
“We act as a virtual HR manager for them. We partner with them, and they pay a fixed monthly fee. We can scale up or down, dependent on what they need. They have access to our whole Team of experts for any support, assistance or advice they need on any HR related matters,” Cecilia said.
“This means we can work closely with the operations managers at each of their sites on an ongoing basis, providing support as needed particularly on more complex matters.”
“An important part of this service is upskilling Nippy’s’ managers. We travel out to each of their sites once a month to check-in and provide training. This not only ensures that their managers are equipped to handle most of the day-to-day HR matters, but also that they have the support from Perks People Solutions if they need it.”
For Ben, the ongoing support has been a game changer.
“People can sometimes be the hardest part of a business but having support with everything from recruitment to performance management, position descriptions and contracts has made life a whole lot easier,” he said.
“No matter what size business you are, I would highly recommend the Perks People Solutions Team. I find Cecilia and her team incredibly easy to deal with – they understand our business and how we want everything to run.”
Another key aspect of the work Perks has done with Nippy’s is in the planning for the future of the company, particular in terms of how the family will manage the transition of the business from mum and dad – Jeff and Tina Knispel – to the next generation.
As Perks Business Services Director Kim Bigg explained, this is a gradual process that Perks are helping to progress in line with the family’s needs and objectives.
“Ben and Jeff currently share the Managing Director role and we’re looking at how we best manage that process for Ben to take over fully when the time is right,” he said.
“We’re starting to incorporate these discussions into our regular catch-ups to tease out the complexities. Our approach is that transparency is key in bringing everyone together and forging a succession plan that suits the family’s needs and secures the future of the business.”
As Ben attested to, these are not necessarily easy discussions to have but are important for the future of the business.
“A lot of families will not deal with the topic of succession planning because it’s just too hard,” he said.
“However, Perks have a great ability to bring everyone to the table, get them talking and begin working through what is a complex process. We’ve still got a long way to go but I’m really glad we’re now on the right path so that we can continue to build on what has made Nippy’s great.”
With a background in legal practice, Cecilia has developed strong technical expertise in all matters relating to workplace law, including awards, contracts, disciplinary matters, investigations, equal opportunity and HR policy development.
Kim Bigg is a Director at Perks and a qualified Chartered Accountant. With more than 20 years’ experience as a business adviser, Kim is highly adept at assisting growing and established businesses across a wide range of industries.
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