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Medical Centre Appoints BLG and Turns an Uncertain Future into a Thriving Operation

Client: Illawarra Family Medical Centre

Interviewed: Kath Kelly, Operations/Practice Manager

4 min read

"What for me stands out, what makes them different, is that somebody who cares about your business and knows about your business can help grow your business.”

Key Services

  • Fast and accurate initial advice moves an unstable business into an award winning sustainable model
  • Thorough strategies put in place for long-term growth
  • Detailed advice and guidance on setting up business and accounting processes
  • Available and responsive with feedback on any enquiry
  • Strong, long-standing relationships formed with staff throughout the medical centre

Illawarra Family Medical Centre has been around for 13 years, and since being introduced to BLG 12 years ago, has gone from strength to strength. With yearly growth and now 17 quality doctors and visiting specialists, the medical centre is in a solid position. Recently winning three grants to expand their services, including running a pilot project for a new model of medicine called ‘Healthcare Homes’, they have become one of the biggest private medical practices in the Illawarra.

Moving from the Ground Up

In August 2005 the Illawarra Family Medical Centre opened its doors and in November 2005 Kath Kelly was appointed as Practice Manager. After the medical centre had been opened for six months, Kath recognized there were issues and they needed strong financial and business guidance. “Doctors aren’t taught to be business people and that’s why we employ people who look after us,” says Kath. They were referred to BLG Business Advisers and after an initial meeting Kath started working with Clayton Childs, now a Director at BLG.

Kath recalls her first meeting with Clayton. “Get doctors was his advice. ‘You need doctors.’ So that’s what I started doing. I started recruiting doctors to grow the business, and our reputation out there now precedes us. We’ve got another University Medal Winner coming on board.”  From seven doctors 12 years ago to 17 doctors in February 2018, the medical centre has experienced growth every year with between 110-120 new patients every month.

Creating Strong Relationships and a Thriving Business

BLG was instrumental in getting the accounting organized in a useable way. Clayton introduced Kath to Angela in 2006 to start working in the medical centre on the finances. “We needed to get on top of the accounting so we could understand where we were going,” says Kath. “It took us a long time because there were no processes, there was nothing. So between Clayton, Angela and I we’ve literally gone from strength to strength.”

A year after the medical centre started working with BLG they went on to win the Illawarra Small Business of the Year Award. “We went from literally wondering whether we would survive in February 2006 to then winning the following year. We beat the likes of Wideform, Holden, and some other multi-nationals, and we won it because we had a sustainable model. It was huge then. A medical practice had never done it.”

Kath has placed great value on having any questions she has answered quickly and in a way that someone without an accounting background can understand. “Clayton’s very good a breaking things down and going through everything logically,” says Kath. “He’s also very good at the big picture. I used to be on the phone to him sometimes two or three times a day.”

As business advisers, having BLG work closely with the medical centre and consulting with the doctors has made the difference. “You can’t just have an accountant, you need the business adviser who advises the accountant and the Managing Director and everyone else,” says Kath. “What I think Clayton has done, he’s supported the doctors to establish a growing enterprise while keeping great values, and how he’s done that is just to give us good advice as we went forward.”

Benefits and Results

  • Solid short and long-term strategies from the first meeting have created a sustainable, thriving business model
  • Introduced accounting and business practices to support on-going monthly growth
  • Close-knit relationships formed with all staff, from the doctors to the Practice Manager, has facilitated strong communications and accurate business decisions
  • On-call advice readily provided to ensure the continued smooth running of the medical practice
  • Success at winning awards and grants with thorough plans and systems in place


“Without BLG I don’t know where we would be. I know that I have somebody behind me who has my back. Clayton’s exceptionally good at what he does. He has never, ever let me down,” says Kath. “That’s a big call over 12 years.”

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