7 September 2021

Don't let his title scare you: Jonathon Colbran has been helping businesses stay afloat for 20 years

| Katrina Condie
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Jonathon Colbran riding mountain bike

When he’s not helping solve people’s financial woes, Jonathon Colbran enjoys hitting Canberra’s trails on his mountain bike. Photo: RSM.

He’s a fun-loving, outdoorsy guy, and has travelled around Australia working in a whiskey distillery and a remote gold mine, but when Jonathon Colbran tells people he’s a registered liquidator and a trustee in bankruptcy, he gets some funny looks.

“My job conjures images of doom and gloom and it scares some people,” he says.

“The title doesn’t really help to paint a positive picture of either the breadth of complex work I do or the way I help organisations and individuals navigate through difficult times.”

Jonathon is a partner of the national Restructuring and Recovery division at RSM in Canberra.

Since 2002, his team has been helping government departments, directors, creditors, business owners, lenders, not-for-profits and individuals solve their financial problems and come out the other side.

“I really enjoy seeing a business succeed where they may otherwise have failed,” says Jonathan.

He says his job is exciting and has seen him manage a trading whiskey distillery in Tasmania and selling a gold mining operation in South Australia’s Woomera Prohibited Area, where he slept in a donga in the middle of the desert.

One of Jonathan’s proudest moments was his successful management of the restructure of Star Aviation Services that resulted in a Deed of Company Arrangement being executed and 300 jobs saved across Australia.

“I’ve also managed the administration for a land council that was involved in the largest Aboriginal land rights claims in NSW history at the time,” he says.

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Jonathon says that during the past 20 years, he’s fortunate to have worked with clients in every state and territory in Australia who understand the value and unique skill set that RSM professionals can bring to their organisation or business.

A trusted advisor to investors, financiers and directors, he has helped many distressed companies restructure and save jobs, eliminate old debt and position themselves as market leaders.

“I’m passionate about helping people solve a problem they were adamant was unsolvable,” he says.

“Our clients are not jobs – they are real people with real feelings who need our help.

“They appreciate our honesty and straight talking, and they know they can count on us for it.”

Jonathon has always been fascinated by business and says by the time he had completed his second year studying commerce at ANU, he had decided he wanted to be a chartered accountant.

However, by his final year, he realised traditional small business accounting wasn’t for him so he contacted RSM and landed a job with the Restructuring and Recovery team.

“Straight away I loved the fast-paced, unpredictable nature of the work we do, and I knew I had – almost by complete fluke – found what I wanted to do,” he says.

Jonathon Colbran with family at Perisher

Nothing helps Jonathon de-stress like a family getaway to Perisher. Photo: RSM.

Jonathon has lived in Canberra for a majority of his life and makes the most of the city’s laidback lifestyle and work-life balance on offer.

“I love the fact I am able to leave home at 8:00 am and by 8:05 am I am in the office, having dropped my girls off at school on the way to work,” he says.

“Professionally, I love the fact I am only ever a direct flight away from all the major capital cities, and working across the country gives me the ability to regularly work across the full spectrum of personal and corporate restructuring and insolvency solutions.

“The best thing about being based in Canberra is I am less than two hours from the beach and the snow, and I’m surrounded by some of Australia’s best mountain bike trails.”

Jonathon says he has been fortunate to have worked with “many amazing practitioners” during his time with RSM, including his Canberra partner, Frank Lo Pilato, who taught him that “emotional intelligence is critical to success in business”.

He says the team at RSM is approachable and feels like a family where his colleagues and the partners have always been supportive, even when he was an undergraduate.

“It blows me away that team members who join RSM do not just stay for a few years, they stay for decades,” says Jonathan.

He is an avid mountain bike rider and enjoys spending time with his young family skiing at Perisher in the winter.

He also loves following sport and never misses a Canberra Raiders or Liverpool FC game.

Jonathon Colbran and the Restructuring and Recovery team at RSM in Canberra can help get your business off the ground and keep it running smoothly.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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