How accountants inspired a company’s growth
Steve Pipe, author of The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants, is the keynote speaker at this year’s ICAS Practitioners’ Conference on 1 June and shares one of the case studies from his new book.
MyCladders is a Brisbane-based metal roofing and metal cladding company, founded in 2004 by Kendrick Myers.
The situation at the start
Inspire CA’s founder, Ben Walker, explains: “They came to us looking for some help growing their business. At the time they were effectively a labour hire business. They were only contracting to one customer, and were only supplying hours of labour (no materials). The hours and workload were dictated by the contractor (i.e. middleman) and so business growth was limited and out of their control.”
How their accountants helped
Kendrick already knew that the answer was to get a licence so that he could contract directly with builders in the retail market, without needing a middleman. But he hadn’t done it because he felt he needed more accountability and confidence to move ahead.
In a video on Inspire CA’s website he says: “I wanted more, but didn’t have any confidence. Inspire has given our whole business the tools and the confidence to go out there and get things done. They’ve said you need to get this, then this, and then this done. Once you get that done, you can move to another step. And thanks to them we have now done all of that, and two steps more!”
As for accountability, explains Ben: “We set them up with a suite of integrated Xero-based cloud accounting and management systems. So they now have a much better insight into the key numbers, and much more control over the entire business. It also gives them far more team engagement, and greatly improved efficiency, as their team can simply login to do their timesheets, apply for leave and holidays, and even report sickness. And it allows us to work closely alongside them to monitor everything in real time, and continually suggest ways to make things better.”
The difference it made
Since they started working with their new accountants, MyCladders:
- Has grown from $670,000 to $1.6m in sales.
- Are now quoting for $300,000-$500,000 of work each week, and has also.
- Created 20 new jobs – with the original team of two now growing to 5 full time and 17 part time employees.
How it made them feel
According to Ben, the best aspect of all this success was summed up when Kendrick said: “We support five families through five full-time jobs. And they all have children. So for us to be able to support those families, gives us more drive and a lot of happiness. Because that’s what we’re here for: not just to grow ourselves, but to grow others around us too.”
As for Ben himself: “As well as a great client, I have also gained a great friend in Kendrick who shares my passion for making a difference. So much so, in fact, that I asked him to be a groomsman at my wedding recently. And I’m really proud to say that he was there by my side on my big day.”
But the inspiration doesn’t end there
Inspire CA lives up to its name in many other ways. For example:
- Publishing a monthly newsletter, “Inspiring business”.
- Giving away free copies of its book, “5 numbers all business owners need to know”.
- Being a “B1G1: Business For Good”, and changing the lives of people in need across the world by making 90,191 micro-givings through www.B1G1.com – at least one micro-giving for every email it sends, meeting it holds, AGM it attends, strategic planning session it runs and coffee and meal it sells in the Inspire Café.
The state-of-the-art and purpose-built Inspire Café, which the entire business is centred around, is perhaps its most extraordinarily creative initiative. Decked in stunning bright red cladding (supplied by MyCladders) it offers the normal range of up-market cafe services. But, uniquely, it is also a business hub, meeting room, seminar venue and executive lounge.
During our 17 years of research, we have never seen anything like the Inspire Café anywhere else in the world.
Given all of this innovation, it is no wonder that Ben’s job title is Chief Inspiration Officer or that the firm’s website says the following: “Ben started Inspire CA to head in the opposite direction to the traditional 'old way' of the accounting industry. Forget time sheets; forget charging by the hour; forget difficult to use software and glazing over in conversations with your accountant. Inspire CA is for the business owner who wants to understand what drives their business, while partnering with an accounting firm who takes care of the rest.”
Hear Steve Pipe speak at the ICAS Practitioners’ Conference 2016 – The Inspirational Practice. His book, “The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants”, containing 62 inspiring case studies of accounting practices across the world, generating outstanding results for themselves, their clients and the wider world, is now available on www.stevepipe.com.