At Cooke & Foley, our primary focus is to provide a professional and honest business advisory, accounting and tax service to all our clients.
The best part of working with you is the relationship that we build together as we partner you on your business journey and beyond. You see your business as more than a job and appreciate the advice provided by our firm to improve the business and your personal wealth. You are responsive and ready to implement suggestions regarding the cashflow of the business or other aspects that are worrying you about your business. You want to ensure you and your family will be rewarded for all your hard work and sacrifices along your business journey.
We understand and guide you through all stages of your business journey and beyond, from startup and getting the right advice from the beginning regarding structure, maximizing the benefits of being in business along the way and then ensuring your eventual exit from the business is successful.
You realise that you require more than just a tax return to achieve all of your business and personal goals. You appreciate the challenge of setting and achieving a budget and annual target to improve your business processes and efficiencies. Together we will help you set and reach these targets and make sure you remain on track to reach your objectives.
We were founded in 1946 and have become one of the largest, most respected accounting firms in country Victoria. We are now a three director firm headed by Paul Foley, Kym Cassells and Nicole Crocker. We specialise in businesses and offer our clients a range of accounting, tax, business coaching and advisory services.
We are located in the heart of Ballarat in Western Victoria, however, the latest technology allows us to service clients in the local region as well as Melbourne, Country Victoria and Interstate. Our focus is not just on the traditional business accounting and taxation compliance services as we endeavour to deliver strategies to help our clients grow their business and accumulate personal wealth. We continue to adapt our service offerings to suit the needs of our clients.
Our experienced team have skills in a number of specialist areas including business advice, strategy and structure, self managed superannuation funds and negative gearing of property. Over the years we have also developed expertise in a number of varying industries including hospitality, farms, property development, the building trades and retailers industry just to name a few.
We are committed to the success of our business clients and are proud of our heritage. This is proven by our long-term relationship with our clients.
If you're looking for a business adviser to help you build your business, speak to one of our pro-active team members today on (03) 5331 2600.
Hospitality is one of the most challenging yet one of the most rewarding industries to be involved in and we can assist you to seize opportunites and obtain a competitive advantage.
We pride ourselves on the strength of the relationships we build with our clients and the depth of knowledge and understanding we develop over time.
Focus on what’s important to you, such as handling tasks on your farm and enjoying life outside of work.
Financial planning is about developing strategies to help you manage your financial affairs and meet your life goals.
We've compiled a broad range of useful links for your use. These include tax resources, finance, Australian government assistance and accounting software
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Paul followed in his father and many of his siblings’ footsteps to build a long, rewarding career at Cooke and Foley. He joined the firm on finishing university with his Bachelor of Business degree in hand. Over 30 years, Paul has progressed from becoming a Certified Practising Accountant to earning his Public Practice Certificate and a Registered Tax Agent. He became director in 2006.
Hospitality and farming are areas of special interest. Paul has solidified a client base across regional Victoria around these industries, with particular attention to budgeting and cashflow preparation. He finds most satisfaction in monitoring and interpreting KPIs to help businesses grow. As the role of accountants evolves, Paul said he aimed to assume a more advisory role with specific, strategic advice to achieve defined goals for clients. This ranges from tax minimisation, to succession planning and retirement.
Honesty, diligence and looking after people are at the core of his work ethic. Paul believes a loyal, long term client base speaks to the calibre of the firm and its work. His approach is to understand everything about a client’s business and circumstances to become their most trusted advisor.
Community involvement is another core belief. Paul played a key role in the redevelopment of the Ballarat Golf Club, helping it earn the 2011 Clubs Victoria Award for Best Club Redevelopment. He’s on the club board and perhaps unsurprisingly, is its Finance Director. His love of sport extends to basketball and a long involvement with the Ballarat Miners Basketball Club, including being a past Treasurer.
Personally, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and three children and supporting their sporting interests. A keen golfer, he’ll happily spend a Saturday on the green, except when his other sporting love, Richmond, is playing.
Basketball and accountancy are two words that typically wouldn’t be paired in a word association test. For Cooke & Foley director Kym Cassells, the interplay between the sport and her working life has been a career constant.
Kym joined Cooke & Foley in 2000 while playing basketball in Ballarat and studying for a Bachelor of Commence. A former Cooke & Foley director also was part of the basketball community. Kym was working towards a professional career in sport when an injury pushed pause on that plan.
With her focus now on study, Kym completed her Certified Public Accountant qualification and learned the many facets of public practice accounting. She continued to gain experience, particularly in taxation accounting and business services. Ballarat born and bred, Kym honed her financial skills to become a director at Cooke & Foley in 2012. She has more than 15 years experience in superannuation, specialising in self managed super funds.
The hospitality and gaming industries are areas of special interest. With an intricate knowledge of Xero and other accounting packages, other professional strengths are cash flow and budgeting preparation and interpretation.
Kym holds a Public Practising Certificate and prides herself on liaising promptly with her clients. She gets particular satisfaction helping them set up processes so they can better manage their day- to-day operations. While most of her clients are small business owners in hospitality, farming and retail, Kym says an ideal client is one who sees the firm as a legitimate business partner.
A long-term, loyal client base is testament to Cooke and Foley’s core values of having client’s best interests at the forefront of all decisions. Client relationships are key and Kym believes their client’s loyalty confirms the company has gone beyond providing basic financial services.
Personally, Kym’s love and involvement in basketball hasn’t wavered. She’s being involved in the Ballarat Lady Miners (now the Ballarat Rush) for 16 years and continues to have an active involvement in the sport as treasurer of the Ballarat Basketball Association. Her dedication was honoured in 2014 when Kym was inducted into the Ballarat Basketball Hall of Fame.
Nicole has been a director at Cooke and Foley since 2017. She’s spent most of her working life at the firm, moving to the firm at age 20 while still at university. Business and finance were always on her horizon. One grandfather was a bank manager; another and an uncle were both CPAs.
Typical clients are businesses owners in property development, civil construction, trades and retail. Her special interest skills include advanced knowledge in Xero and other accounting packages, as well as cashflow and budgeting preparation and interpretation. Nicole has particular strengths in the property development industry, including various GST and income tax issues.
Communication is at the centre of her customer service philosophy. That means being available to clients and investing time into building those relationships. Nicole said she gets particular satisfaction in being involved in the client’s business journey from start up to eventual sale, or retirement. And she takes great satisfaction mentoring younger team members.
Accountancy is about more than numbers. Nicole said she likes to look beyond the numbers, at the more analytical aspects of the work. With more than two decades experience at the firm, Nicole said she most enjoys the advisory side of the role, including annual planning to minimise income tax liabilities and the more complex advice regarding business structuring and effective exiting of a business. That passion was put to good use when a long-standing client decided it was time to sell. It was a two-year process where various strategies were devised to exit the business and minimise the tax impact. The service and analysis over that time ensured Nicole retained her existing client and earned a new one in the process.
Personally, Nicole enjoys spending time with family and the horse racing industry. She’s a part owner of a number of horses and has friends who are breeders. She’s now channelling that passion into developing a niche market for the racing industry.
Dedicated to his role, and fastidious about his work, Peter undertakes diverse responsibilities as a Senior Accountant at Cooke & Foley, often one on one with a large range of clients.
Peter has the ability to convey complicated messages to his clients, ensuring they are comfortable in discussions, and guiding them through the complex matters of tax law. He describes Cooke & Foley as innovative, proactive, and interactive, encouraging clients to be receptive to new ideas and software advances.
Peter has been a member of the Cooke and Foley team since 2000, with many years prior experience across various industries as a finance professional. He holds an Advanced Diploma of Business (Accounting) from the University of Ballarat, and a Graduate Certificate in Professional Accounting from the University of New England.
Growing up in Camperdown and working throughout the Western district of Victoria, Peter has a genuine appreciation of rural and regional interests.
Outside of work, Peter is an enthusiastic cyclist. When not riding his bike, or tinkering with car restoration, you’ll likely find him enjoying motor car or bicycle racing.
As a Senior Accountant, Chris primarily handles Tax Planning and Compliance for the Larger Clients and Self-Managed Super Funds within Cooke and Foley.
Chris has a strong belief in ethics, and values respectful, trusting and responsive client relationships. He thoroughly enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his career, and finds great satisfaction providing clients with advice that will improve their business.
Awarded Dux in Accounting and Economics as a secondary student, Chris proved destined for this industry. He went on to gain a degree in Applied Economics & Finance from the University of Ballarat, and is now a confident CPA with Xero certification. Chris has been a full-time member of the Cooke and Foley team since 2008.
A life-long resident of Ballarat, Chris enjoys all sports. Outside of his financial career he has held a number of roles within the Ballarat Basketball Association. Chris is also a bit of a history buff. He enjoys watching documentaries, and spending time with family and friends.
Supporting Individuals and Businesses with general accounting advice and providing specialist Self-Managed Super Funds advice are Jason’s principal responsibilities as a Senior Accountant with Cooke and Foley.
Conscientious and approachable, Jason’s working philosophy is based on mutual respect, and building trusting relationships. He values communication, the importance of gathering appropriate information, and working with clients to achieve positive outcomes. Jason truly appreciates Cooke and Foley’s long-standing reputation as a caring, community-focused business.
Prior to joining the team at Cooke and Foley in 2015, Jason had gained 8 years valuable experience working with both a national and local Ballarat accounting firm. Previous to that Jason spent some 15 years working within the banking and finance industry. An accredited SMSF Specialist Advisor™ and fully Xero certified, Jason completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Ballarat in 2007.
Jason was born in England, but spent most of his growing-up years in the north-west of Western Australia. He has called Ballarat home since moving here in 2003.
When he’s not spending time with family and friends, watching sport, or contemplating his next travel adventure, Jason simply enjoys time at home cooking.
Matthew joined Cooke and Foley in 2019 as a Senior Accountant, with over ten years’ experience in the industry.
Knowing the importance of being a trusted advisor, being approachable, and of building quality professional relationships with his clients, is very much in keeping with Cooke & Foley’s direct focus on the quality of work being undertaken for each of its clients.
As a Chartered Accountant, holding a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Law), Matthews’ knowledge and interpersonal skills enable him to assist a broad range of clients to achieve their desired results.
Matthew has the ability to talk and correspond with people, in a style that is effective and efficient. He firmly believes the client comes first and that his priority is to act for them in whatever capacity required. He is motivated to assist businesses in their quest to thrive and become more profitable. A more wholistic approach to caring for clients, he believes, is essential with the emergence of new technologies and automation in the financial industry.
A Ballarat local, Matthew is an accomplished musician, having played professionally as a band guitarist and lead vocalist, performing at numerous events and venues.
As a qualified CPA, Faye supports Individuals and Businesses with general taxation and bookkeeping services. Having worked herself for a number of years in the Hospitality industry, she has an intimate understanding of the inherent nature of small business. Faye is also fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Faye has been with Cooke and Foley since 2015. She was awarded her Master of Professional Accounting at the University of Ballarat in 2014, after completing a Master of Finance at the University of Melbourne, and graduating from the Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University.
Faye believes in helping her clients to properly understand their financial situation. Confident and hardworking, her guiding philosophy is, no business too small, no problem too big.
Approaching her work with persistence and patience, Faye prides herself on her ability to ‘think outside the box’ when approaching a problem.
Faye moved from China in 2008, and now calls Ballarat home. When not working you’ll likely find her engaged in her favourite mindfulness activities, drawing and practising Chinese calligraphy.
An enthusiastic and confident member of the team, Zac is primarily focused on Taxation and Business Advisory Services, thriving on the job’s variety and challenges.
Zac joined Cooke and Foley in 2017 the same year he completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, at Federation University. He thoroughly enjoys his work environment, and values the diversity and experience of his colleagues.
Zac appreciates Cooke and Foley’s engagement with the latest technology and accounting software, and their commitment to training, which ensures the staff are ready to meet the constant challenges of the profession.
Before settling on a career in finance, Zac tried his hand at building, and has also worked as a sign writer for six years.
Friendly and energetic, Zac enjoys socialising with family and friends. He has a love of basketball, and has played in various representative teams. He has also captained the Gordon Football Club reserves, where he continues to play.
Working across a broad range of industries, Matthew is focused primarily on Taxation and Compliance. Well respected and hardworking, he enjoys meeting the challenges of his role, acknowledging the importance of emerging technology, and data analysis in the industry.
Matthew joined the Cooke & Foley team in 2014 while studying a Bachelor of Business in Professional Accountancy at RMIT University, graduating in 2018.
Doing more for clients than simply compliance & tax work is something Matthew admires about Cooke and Foley, taking the time to truly explain to clients the processes and outcomes involved.
A Ballarat local, Matthew has a keen interest in watching most sports, mainly football and cricket. Though no longer playing, he is involved as treasurer, at the Newlyn Football Netball Club. He also has shares in a couple of racehorses.
Teagan, a recent addition to our accounting team, has been with Cooke and Foley since 2011, having previously worked as a Client Services Administrator. During this time, she was working toward her second degree, a Bachelor of Accounting.
Teagan works primarily with well-established clients across a number of industries. She enjoys the inherent challenges of her role, helping clients improve the running of their businesses, to achieve best possible outcomes. She genuinely feels that her success stems from her client’s success.
Hard working, reliable, and a keen observer, Teagan is proud to be part of Cooke and Foley’s long-established history, enjoying the strong and supportive team environment. She acknowledges that the trust and rapport fostered through relationships, is of great value to clients.
A life-long resident of Ballarat, Teagan loves to read a good mystery, taking walks, and spending time with her family.
With over 30 years of experience working at Cooke and Foley, Susan has not only helped to shape the culture, but in many ways has been the welcoming face of the business. Susan’s wealth of experience serves her well in her role as Production Manager.
Friendly, helpful, reliable, and caring, are apt descriptions of Susan, qualities that complement the hardworking and competent approach she brings to her role. Susan’s primary responsibility is managing the flow of work through the office, and providing payroll services to clients.
Susan has contact with many of Cooke and Foley’s clients. She is proud of the excellent service, family-focused nature of the business, and its progressive attitude within the industry.
In recent times, having raised her family in Ballarat, where she has lived her life, Susan has taken to experiencing new countries and cultures through her travel adventures.
Since joining us in 2006, Jessica has been responsible for ensuring our wonderful team gets the support they need, with numerous administration tasks, maintaining client software, and handling customer enquiries.
She approaches her role with a strong sense of loyalty, care, and personal investment, genuinely concerned with the successful and smooth running of Cooke and Foley and the high level of service provided to clients.
Trustworthiness, reliability, and accountability are among the qualities she values as a member of the team.
Away from work, Jessica loves all things outdoors, particularly when it involves her family. Given the opportunity, she’d love to enjoy a minimalist lifestyle in a ‘Tiny House’.
Billie is one of the friendly faces that greet our clients. She provides assistance and support in the office, and extends that friendly service over the phone. Interacting with and connecting clients to the rest of the team, is what she most enjoys.
It is the strong team environment and friendly, professional interaction, that motivates Billie to contribute prompt and efficient service, in a conscientious and customer-oriented manner.
Recently joining Cooke and Foley, Billie brings with her several years’ administration and legal secretarial experience.
Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially baking cakes and sewing with her daughter.
Chris is a qualified CPA with expert knowledge in superannuation, particularly in the areas of compliance and auditing. A passion for his work, and a sound understanding of relevant issues, enables him to assist his clients on their journey toward success and an improved lifestyle.
Chris, who joined the Cooke and Foley team in 2020, came to us from Melbourne, where he worked in financial services for a number of years. In 2015, he completed his Bachelor of Business degree in Accounting at Latrobe University. Chris also holds an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality, gained while working within the industry.
Away from the office, Chris is an avid cyclist, and is a member of Cycling Australia. He is also known to enjoy a round or two of golf.
A community-minded individual, Chris is an active and dedicated member of the CFA, who fought the recent devastating East Gippsland fires.