Meet the team

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Geoff hamilton - BCOM, CA

A qualified Chartered Accountant with 46 years’ experience in the chartered accountancy environment, having worked in areas of audit, business advisory and taxation. Geoff now specialises in succession planning, business development and forensic accounting.

Geoff established SME in September 1988, and was previously a partner of Coopers and Lybrand in business advisory, taxation and receivership and liquidation work. As a Director of SME, Geoff runs the chartered accountancy business and provides direction, supervision and mentoring of all team members. He also provides pragmatic commercial advice to clients on a daily basis.

In his spare time, Geoff loves to play golf and travel with his family.

Manisha kesha - bcom, ca

I often need to prepare budgets and financial statements to help my clients present their businesses accurately and in a transparent way, sometimes to help a successful sale.  One of my clients was a national sporting body and needed to secure funding from its international body, in order to be able to host a World Cup event in New Zealand.

"By helping my client to collate all the right financial information, and then putting it all together into a clear, concise budget, we were able to obtain the funding needed. Then I helped to design a plan and our firm was engaged to supervise the cashflow management during the event.

"Afterwards, I prepared the final financials - and the great news was that as a result of the careful management of the cash flow we were able to report a good profit for the event.  For me it was a perfect example of how accounting can help a big event to succeed, which in turn can support New Zealand sports and tourism, and inspire organisers of such events to get thousands of young kiwis involved."

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shelley keery - BBS, CA

Tight deadlines, reading contracts and wearing high-vis vests – it’s all in a day’s work for Shelley Keery. She brings a whole new specialist skillset to SME Financial, having spent 14 years focusing on assurance auditing. Shelley has managed big teams on major projects like the Waterview Tunnel, the Waitangi Wharf replacement Mackays to Peka Peka Crossing, Wellington Memorial Park and the Christchurch rebuild. She loves the challenges of working across all aspects of a project to help clients review their businesses and improve their procedures.

After a fabulous holiday with her husband, Shelley decided she needed a new challenge, which has led her to become the driving force behind SME’s new assurance department.

In addition to her assurance work, Shelley has been a Chartered Accountant for 25 years and has worked in the areas of auditing, business advisory and taxation.

kunal topiwala - BCom, Grad dip com, CA

A Chartered Accountant, Kunal Topiwala graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Graduate Diploma, in Commerce in Accountancy and Information Systems. These qualifications, along with years of practical experience in the accounting industry, have put him in good stead to support SME Financial’s clients.  

Since joining SME Financial in May 2016 Kunal Topiwala has helped numerous clients with their day-to-day accounting and business challenges. 

 An average day will see him visit clients at their premises to see their business in action and assess how it could be improved to increase profit and make life easier. 

Kunal is a keen fisherman and enjoys snorkelling around the Waitemata Harbour and the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, while in winter he can be found on the football pitch.



shrina kaya - BCom, Grad dip com

Shrina knows how to spot the anomalies and missed opportunities other accountants have overlooked – she loves the structure and patterns behind her clients’ ledgers. It’s great to be able to tell her clients she’s found ways to claim thousands of dollars in additional GST – “it makes them happy, they can fund new projects, and they don’t have to stress about their cashflow.”

Shrina has a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in accounting and commercial law. She is currently studying to become a Chartered Accountant. In her spare time she enjoys trying new recipes and spending time with her friends. 

carolina marshall

When you call SME Financial chances are the voice you hear at the end of the phone is Carolina Marshall. Carolina is an instrumental part of the SME Financial team performing bank reconciliations, processing payables, maintaining the Companies Office files for clients, and providing administrative support to clients and SME Financial’s accountants.

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Carolina spent her formative years in the US before moving to New Zealand in 2012 with her family. Prior to joining SME Financial Carolina spent seven years in administrative management and accounts support roles within the travel sector in Brazil and New Zealand. 

Now married to a Kiwi, Carolina says New Zealand is well and truly home for her family and she loves the safety and ease of life here. Civic-minded Carolina spends her time outside of work mentoring teenagers, spending time with family and “expressing myself creatively through art”.



mishali patel - BMS, grad dip hrm

With Mishali on the case you can be assured your accounts payables and payroll systems are in good hands. Since joining SME Financial in January 2017, Mishali has helped the team support dozens of clients with SmartPayroll and other robust payroll systems. Working behind the scenes, Mishali ensures staff members are paid on time; every time, and that organisations’ tax obligations are met without any fuss. 

Mishali holds a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato and is now working towards becoming a certified Chartered Accountant. 

“SME Financial has a very strong mentoring ethos and is an official Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Mentor, which is invaluable for graduates and those like me on the CA journey,” says Mishali. 

Eschewing the accountant stereotype, Mishali has a great sense of humour and is a big fan of comedies.

nida haris - aca

Nida is a Chartered Accountant who has previously worked at PwC Pakistan and headed up the finance department of global market research company Nielsen in Pakistan; she then moved to Malaysia and pursue her career with PwC Malaysia. Her job is in her blood: her father and both her brothers are also accountants, and she's married to an auditor, too.

Originally from Pakistan but having worked around the world, Nida moved to New Zealand in early 2018 in pursuit of a better work-life balance for herself, her husband and her two daughters. She’s loving the more family friendly lifestyle, giving her the opportunity to spend more time with her family while also having a successful career.



akshinee patel - bcom, bsc

Akshinee has always loved working with numbers – even when she was in high school she found accounting classes much more interesting than her other subjects. She completed a conjoint degree in computer science and accounting at Auckland University and once again it was the accounting that she really enjoyed. Working at SME is Akshinee’s first full-time role and she has recently begun to pursue qualification as a Chartered Accountant. She is relishing the challenge of working more closely with clients as she develops her skills.

A born and bred Aucklander, Akshinee is pretty busy working and studying, but when she gets a break she likes to relax with a book or have some fun doing Indian dancing.

Lydia McRae - bbus

Lydia has always had a great head for numbers and found her accounting classes at school seemed to come naturally. With a couple of accountants already in the family, she decided to try it for herself, finishing her accounting degree in 2018. Currently working across the SME team assisting in all types of work, she’s getting a taste for all types of accountancy, and loves the challenge of getting all the numbers to line up perfectly. In the future, she plans to work towards becoming a Chartered Accountant.



Erica chen - mpa

Erica comes to SME with plenty of accounting experience and a Masters in Professional Accounting from AUT. She is also in the final stages of qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.

 Her passion is for talking to clients, getting to understand their businesses: “I like to learn from different companies of various sizes about their day-to-day work, and give them the professional touch they need to get the best out of their accounting.”

 Aucklander Erica also loves taking road trips around New Zealand with her friends and flatmates, especially if she can get in some hiking and snowboarding along the way.