Image credit: Xero


Shaye Thyer is a National Cloud and Advisory Specialist at BDO Australia and a Practice Advisory Council Member for Xero. WhichAddOn caught up with her shortly before Xerocon Brisbane to speak with her about her role.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a loyal Adelaidian that loves indie music, waterskiing and basketball. I’m a real small business champion, I love the way it positively supports and shapes our lifestyle, and am also super passionate about gender equality and diversity and being a positive role model for my 2 girls.

Your role is National Cloud and Advisory Specialist at BDO. What does that involve?

In an “MBA” sense it’s about operationalising our national transformation strategy for the accounting division. In real life, supporting our team in their diverse journeys towards becoming modern business advisers. My work spans really ground level stuff like hands-on ‘cloud 1-0-1’ training with team members, to designing and executing the change management strategy (top down) for internal operational technology changes, for example.

What parts of your job/industry to you love? What do you like least?

What motivates me continually about my role is seeing the positive change in our people. If I can assist them in any way to enjoy their work more, this means I’ve improved their life in a way. This could be as simple as taking the friction out of their day with some new tech, or convincing them that (thank goodness) no-personality number crunching is not their destiny. About the industry – I love that we have the opportunity to positively influence people’s lives. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up with the nitty gritty politics of all the disruption (“I don’t believe compliance is dead”, “you don’t even do advisory,” “do you even do data visualisation” etc) but at the end of the day, we are a bunch of incredibly talented people that have the opportunity to assist our fellow humans in improving their business, their lives and indeed all the lives around them that their businesses touch. This is incredibly powerful. What I like the least about the industry: one-upmanship (and yes sorry, the ‘man’ was deliberate). Who cares if your firm is bigger than mine? Who cares if you do a thing that we do too? There are enough clients to go around, and the collective mission is clear: better outcomes for clients which means everyone is better off. What do I like the least about my role? a) that I’m a team of 1 🙁 and b) that some of my colleagues are convinced I can’t be successful in this “big old firm”. But, haters gonna hate, I suppose!

5 mins with shaye thyer “Open sharing of this stuff in the industry is so crucial”


You’re speaking at Xerocon this year. What will you be speaking about? Why is that important to you?

The topic is: “You’re on Xero, now what?” I’m collaborating with a guru bookkeeper from Perth sharing the BDO journey, how we started, what the roadblocks were and how we’ve overcome these, what success looks like, new services offered, and the positives from doing it. I think it’s important to talk about the hard things out loud. It’s all well and good to say “it’s so easy, just start up your practice using the Xero tools” and it is, if you do it from scratch. It’s much harder to transition a business from an ‘old way’ to a ‘new way’. There’s not a week that passes where I think – gosh can’t we just have a do-over! Open sharing of this stuff in the industry is so crucial – it is the opposite of the ‘one upmanship’ that I loathe – its collaborating and working as a team for the greater good.

Smaller firms have more choice for the practice management tools they use. What are your hopes for larger firms?

I hope and pray that us larger firms have the privilege of choice, flexibility and efficiency that the smaller firms have. The big clunky legacy PM tools large firms have been stuck with for so long are preventing these firms from embodying the agility that is required in the industry now – it’s heartbreaking! No one wants to be big old and slow! Big is fine, but not the other 2.

Are you optimistic about larger firms and their ability to change their culture?

5 out of 7 days of the week – yes. It is a HUGE task, but so critical. If larger firms can be honest, self-reflective and approach their own businesses like they would a client’s business, we’d have very different outcomes. We’d see more BUSINESSES and less FIRMS, very different ownership structures, a dissolving of the flawed traditional promotion ladders and ultimately – happier Partners, happier and more engaged staff and the best part – happier, wealthier clients.

You’re on the Xero Practice Advisory Council. What does that involve?

XPAC is a group of industry leaders that participate in a really critical feedback loop for Xero. Like all organisations, there can be a tendency to get caught in your own internal ‘bubble’ – XPAC helps Xero ensure this doesn’t happen and that they’re continuing to have an amazing positive impact on the industry and small businesses everywhere. We provide product feedback, influence development priorities, share real life challenges and successes, and Xero in turn supports members with profile and media opportunities.

What is something we might not know about Shaye Thyer?

I’m an introvert (Myers Briggs confirmed!) I’d rather sit happily with a beverage and watch the party than cut moves on the d-floor. My dad is my idol.

In brief

  • Current position: National Cloud and Advisory Specialist; Xero Practice Advisory Council Member
  • Age: 35
  • Education: Chartered Accountants, ANZ; PROSCI Certified Change Management Practitioner; Australian Institute of Company Directors, BComm Flinders University
  • Hobbies: Basketball, Water Skiing, Yoga, growing 2 strong independent young ladies
  • Motto / Favourite quote: It’s either f*k yes – or it’s NO (Mark Manson)
  • Advice to others: There is more credibility in being vulnerable than pretending you’re invincible (because no one is)
  • LinkedIn:
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