About Us

Less admin, more freedom.
Less admin, more freedom.


The Living Business Story

Our Living Business team was formed in 2015 by Helen Schafer with the support of her husband, Gerard Prendergast. Since day dot, our vision has been to use a holistic approach to help business owners optimise their Xero based financial systems. 

Since then, our team has grown into a group of highly experienced experts. However, our mission to help small businesses succeed still drives everything we do.

Whether you’re looking for help with day to day booking and payroll, or assistance to set up efficient systems, we can help. We’d love to chat with you about your business goals and the systems we can create to get you there.

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Meet our Founder - Helen Schafer

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Helen created Living Business with the vision of helping businesses thrive. Before starting Living Business, Helen successfully built and scaled her own property management business. Through this experience  Helen discovered her strength was in creating processes and systems for robust financial processes. Now she uses that knowledge and expertise to serve her clients in reaching their goals.

Helen’s credentials:

  • Certified Accredited Platinum Partner for Xero New Zealand
  • NZ Certified Bookkeeper (NZ Bookkeepers Association)
  • Certified WorkflowMax Partner
  • NZ Diploma in Accounting (2016)


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Robyn Halberg

Hi, I'm Robyn and I joined the Living Business team in mid 2016. Before taking a break for family I spent 14 years with ASB bank. I'm really a systems person, super organised and I just thrive on sorting stuff out and figuring out better ways to do things.  I completed the Career Academy Certificate in Bookkeeping as a way to start on a new path.

One of the best things about working with Living Business is working with businesses in their own environment in a very hands on way. It's great to be able to apply all my skills and experience but from the "other side". It's also fantastic to be able to balance work and life in a flexible way. 

My interests include family time, running and hiking. In the last year I am proud I have completed my first half marathon and the Tongariro Crossing.

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Sam De Villiers

Hi I’m Sam, I have 20+ years experience in the Financial/Management Account field and are familiar with a lot of different accounting, POS  and office software packages.   As well as spending many years training on a variety of accounting software packages, I have also worked as a CFO for a medium business for several years.   I have worked in small and larger business in administration and financial roles, as well as running my own successful small business over nearly a decade.

I really enjoy getting stuck into how software systems are being used in a SME environment, and finding ways to make things work better and faster.  Living Business gives me the opportunity to work in this area while also spending quality time with my family.

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Tanya Bamford-King

Hi, I’m Tanya and I’ve got a heap of experience in all kinds of accounting and financial management systems including Xero. I’ve worked in some really big businesses and also some small.  Some of my roles have included being a Systems Analyst.

Although I did qualify as an accountant quite a long time ago (!!) I really don’t want to be an accountant.  Living Business is a great place for me because I can bring my own style and work independently.  The work is also really rewarding as I can get up close and personal with the businesses and people I work with and deliver real results.

I have some other rather diverse interests including being a certified Adult Educator and Dance Teacher.  I have a fabulous family comprising one husband and two great grown up sons.

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Selvie Silvalingum

Hi, I'm Selvie and I've been working with Living Business since 2020.  I moved to New Zealand with my family in 2016 from South Africa and have been enjoying the lifestyle and opportunities in Papamoa ever since.    I've been working in accounts and administration for over 20 years in a wide variety of roles.  I'm certified in Xero as well as having strong experience with WorkflowMax, Sage and a number of other systems.

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Catherine Edser

Hi, I will take care of your bookkeeping needs with my attention to detail and determination to get to the bottom of any discrepancies. I am Xero and Xero Payroll qualified. Apart from book keeping, I enjoy yoga, healthy cooking and outdoors.  I have been with Living Business for a couple of years now and really enjoy the work life balance it gives me.

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Sandra McLean

I have over 25 years’ experience in administration, accounting and financial roles and have obtained a vast range of skills in this time. I have worked within the horticultural industry, and with a range of other primary industries. I have experience in Group companies, both in management structures through to accounting idiosyncrasies. I have been instrumental in Forecasts and Budgets and responsible for Reconciliations, Cost Analysis, HR, Payroll, IRD compliance returns, statutory accounts and reporting to the Board. I understand the importance of timely accurate financial information.


Is this you?

We are seeking quality bookkeepers to join the Living Business team.