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Auto Focus Ltd - Automotive specialists helping people go places with Beany

Hero image - quote from Auto Focus' Justine with their company logo

Meet Justine, co-owner of Auto Focus Ltd

Whether you can replace your own spark plugs or have never changed a tyre, chances are you have your go-to mechanic. Just off State Highway 1, 20 minutes north of Whangarei, you’ll come across a local favourite. Based in Hikurangi, Auto Focus Ltd are automotive specialists servicing the Northland region and beyond.

A locally-owned business, Justine and Kevin opened Auto Focus Ltd in 2017. Justine covers the back end of the business while Kevin brings his 30-plus years of expertise to clients, along with their co-owner Wayne, as they provide everything from automotive consumables sales to vehicle repair services. The company began as a wholesale business, but quickly expanded.

“Well, Auto Focus is a three-pronged business,” Justine explains. “We now supply automotive parts - both retail consumable and wholesale - as well as a mechanical workshop where we do repairs, maintenance and servicing of vehicles.”. With such a diverse business model, the trio work hard to be a one-stop shop for a wide array of clients.

Barriers and pain points

The biggest challenge Auto Focus has faced is probably something all business owners can relate to - the effects of COVID-19. The 2019 opening of their vehicle parts shop came just in time for the country’s first lockdown. “We rely heavily on our day-to-day servicing and repairs of vehicles, so cash flow became very difficult,” Justine tells us. “Despite everything, we had excellent turnover in growth. The issues from March 2020, along with the extreme weather events this year, definitely took a bit of shine off that - particularly the last financial year.”

What’s equally important, Justine points out, is the flow-on, symbiotic effect COVID and any extreme weather event brings: suppliers can’t supply, and clients can’t pay. “A lot of our wholesale customers are farmers and contractors, or work in logistics, transport, forestry, and the like. During the extended wet weather-over the past sixteen months, farmers weren’t able to harvest, so they weren’t servicing their tractors or machinery. Contractors couldn’t work either, the land was just too boggy.”

“There’s a huge flow-on effect. For every month that we have an issue, it takes six months to recover.” Each problem can bleed into the other, which can prove particularly complicated when dealing with the books.

Experience with Beany

Justine opened Auto Focus Ltd with a healthy dose of accounting experience. Previous business ventures, a job with the IRD, and prior studies meant she was able to open the company’s books with a smaller learning curve. Despite this, Beany was still able to add value for Justine and Auto Focus. For Justine, this value came in the form of earning back some time.

There are many different things that eat up a lot of Justine’s time. “I take care of supplier invoicing, entering it into Xero. That’s probably my biggest job, along with paying bills and keeping on top of cash flow. I am also constantly making sure we meet all of our GST and tax obligations.”

Auto Focus Ltd is paired up with Rebecca, a lead accountant at Beany. “Rebecca is our accountant, and she’s phenomenal. We would be utterly lost without her. She gets back to me really quickly, and has never treated any of my questions like they're stupid.”. Beany accountants work closely with each client, and the remote service means they’re far more accessible than traditional accountants.

“One of the best things I ever did - well, two of the best things I ever did - was to open a Xero account, and to contact Beany.”

For Justine, discussing accounting without the jargon was useful. “It would take me aeons to try and work out answers to certain things Rebecca is so quick with. She then goes on to explain them in layman's terms, which is really, really helpful.”

Tips for other business owners

When asked for advice for other business owners, Justine was eager to stress the importance of mental health in the workplace. A healthy work-life balance, she argues, is a means of ensuring both you and your business stay in top shape.

  • Be realistic - fully understand all of your obligations, not just with regards to accounting, but also to your customers and yourself as a business owner. Do your best to make sure everything is right, you’re headed in the right direction, and that you have fail-safes in place.
  • Mental health is critical for business owners, so find opportunities to actually take a break. Small business owners often don't get enough time away from the business to be able to focus on family time, and a bit of downtime. It could be as simple as setting up an answering message, so you can have a day where your phone isn't ringing off the hook.
  • Make sure your insurance is rigorous and covers absolutely everything that you could possibly need. Be it indemnity insurance, insurance for a work vehicle, for stock, or for contents. Whatever it is - make sure you are covered.
  • Do what you're passionate about. If you're not passionate about it, don't do it.

What’s next for Auto Focus Ltd?

There are big changes in store for Auto Focus. Kevin is planning for retirement in April 2024. In the meantime, the team are eager to continue servicing Northland with their multi-layered expertise, all while advocating healthy work practices. “When you're lugging around 200-litre drums of oil, things can get quite exhausting! So that's our aim for this year - to find a lot more fun and have that work-life balance.”

We couldn’t agree more, Justine! All of us here at Beany wish you, Kevin, and Wayne the best for 2024 and beyond.

You can find Auto Focus Ltd at, or by calling 021 184 4577

The outside street view of the Auto Focus building

Who are Beany? 

We’re an online accounting firm that is always right here for you, your accounting pain relief. The most advanced technology lets us work way more closely with you than a normal accountant would. ​

We have a dedicated team of certified accountants and a support team to take care of your business no matter where you are, so you can focus on growing your business. We take out the ‘fluff’, break down the barriers and get things done. Looking out for you is what we are all about. Get started for free today.

Chris Wright


Loves music, travel, and Liverpool FC. In that order.

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