The high energy, vibrant Growthwise firm started four years ago with three people passionate about Small Business and making sure they have the support, and tools, to succeed. This passion also extends to the local community through running free information sessions, helping non-profits and lobbying for the Newcastle Business community.
From Growthwise’s website, it’s pretty easy to tell that they’re not your run of the mill accounting firm. Their vibrant, quirky branding and high presence in the community helps to attract a customer base willing to think outside the square and really look at what positive changes they can make for their businesses.
Steph’s role at Growthwise has been described as less of an accountant and more of a business advisor. She attributes this partly to the level of insight cloud-based platforms provide.
“It was really exciting when Xero and other add-ons such as Unleashed came out as they enable accountants to actually do what they were trained for; all training is about analysing and assisting and these systems allow us to do that. This is something that you simply can’t do with systems that aren’t designed for a business in the first place, which lots of small business owners are still using. You can’t get that level of information, which in turn means that accountants can’t actually do our entire job.”
Using cloud-based platforms makes her work much more satisfying. “I can look at a dashboard in Unleashed and know where people’s margins are, where their stock turns are, where their inventory lies and where their cash-flow issues might come from.” Using these reports, Steph is able to make recommendations on what businesses should be focusing on with real actual figures, as opposed to guess and gut.
“It’s really starting to change the perception of the accounting industry, we’re becoming much more than accountants. Where you may previously have billed just for doing a set of financial statements, now you bill for doing financial statements plus a budget, or financial statements plus a full management report analysis. The work we do becomes even more useful to clients.”
Steph has seen that there’s often a renewed interest in their business from people using cloud-based platforms as they can login and understand what’s going on, which makes them want to get more involved. That means more productivity for the economy, “they’ve got that sense of let’s sell more, let’s do more, let’s employ more. It’s a whole cycle.”
The most satisfying thing for Steph is being able to see a business that could go into liquidation being able to turn their business around with the information at their fingertips to make those right decisions. This impact is phenomenal, when a business folds it’s not going to just affect that business. It’s all the other businesses that they would buy from and supply, their employees. Especially for trades-based businesses where they can be owed a lot of money, it’s a huge impact. “It’s so rewarding when you can say to someone a year ago you were ready to go bankrupt or go into liquidation, now you’ve got a business that’s ticking along and growing nicely.”
Keep fighting the good fight Steph and all of your team at Growthwise. And congratulations to Steph for acing our Guru test scoring 100%.