5 minutes of Q&A with Lisa Saunders – CEO &  Founder of OptimizeAg

Why do you like working with wineries?

I’ll keep it simple. The truth is I’m really a closet nerd and I like working with figures, getting them to reconcile & to produce useful information, and I do love technology. But the real impact of my work, is when I can translate financial insights into words and help winery owners apply that back to their business and achieve transformational results, that’s really my WHY.

It’s really all about helping people be successful.

What are some of the key areas that you see winery owners having issues with?

Winery owners and managers are brilliant at running their businesses and producing great wines, which is what they set out to do. Being tied up in the office, trying to keep on top of the forever changing tax and payroll compliance and monitoring the integrity of their business accounts takes up valuable time which can be better spent on moving their business forward. The smaller wineries often don’t have the staff or expertise to do their wine costing in real time in house, and therefore don’t have the benefit of up to date financial insights to base their financial decisions on. Using a consultant to solve these problems keeps staff numbers down and releases the manger or internal staff from the associated upskilling and training burdon.

How did you get into the business of bookkeeping?

I started my Career in Naracoorte, (a rural town in South Australia around 338 kms from Adelaide) in Retail and then the Banking industry. I always had a keen interest in financial operations and data and was doing the finance work for my husband’s business when I started a family. Then in 1998 I decided to take things to a more structured level and use my skills to support other businesses.  As a working Mother, owning a business also allowed me the flexibility to have my family as a priority. I also have a keen interest in supporting other women in bookkeeping businesses to have the same opportunity, hence my strong involvement and advocacy for ICB Australia (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers)

What do you love most about living and working in Rural South Australia?

Pretty simple really. Space, fresh air, the ability to walk down the main street and know almost everyone and the accessibility to incredible fresh produce and stunning wines. Sure I love a big city fix every now and then, but I love coming home to a real Aussie town.

On the down side, there are factors that are affecting our community such as loss of retail business as internet and online shopping has presented itself,  the higher cost of employing, the proposed container deposit scheme for wine bottles. The reality is that rural life is changing and as much as I love technology and innovation I am also passionate about preserving our rural culture and community. So SHOP LOCAL if you can!!

What’s your favourite wine?

I’m definitely a Sauv Blanc girl! I love the subtle fruit flavours, and it’s easy drinking all year ‘round!

What is your favourite travel destination or experience?

Ahh, great question. The thing is I am all about freedom. Freedom is the ability to have choices and therefore travel for me is totally about the experience of being free. Stunning scenery such as Africa or Canada, but I also appreciate time out where I can connect on a spiritual level. Going into small business has served me with choices and I believe all business owners should gear up to have this choice also, which is what drives me to do what I do.

Oh, and I do love exploring a good wine region, sampling local fares and also talking to winery managers and owners in other parts of the world. It’s a passion and a hobby that has evolved into work for me. It’s a good place to be.


what we do …

Financial Insight

Provide solutions to pain points and concerns in relation to your financial records.

Management Accounting

Comprehensive management accounting to rural based businesses.

Optimizing Time

Expert support for accounting software, bookkeeping, compliance & business reporting.

Wine Industry

Optimize Wine

Working closely with wineries and other stakeholders in the wine industry.

get in touch


PO Box 1328 Naracoorte SA 5271