"Our key message is that going digital is not about choosing a product, it’s really about transforming your business."Brad Bulow
Small business stories
The Australian Government Coat of Arms. White on a navy blue background.
TEXT: Small Business Digital Taskforce. Sammut Bulow Accountants & Business Advisors.
A middle-aged man has short brown hair and wears glasses and a lavender, open-collared business shirt. He sits at a large polished-wood conference table.
TEXT: Brad Bulow. Partner. Sammut Bulow Accountants & Business Advisors.
The name of our core business is called Sammut Bulow Accountants & Business Advisors. We're a holistic business, a suite of business services, and yeah, I suppose we can cater for clients of any stage of life.
Above a narrow alleyway, two people walk across a small glass walkway that spans an old brick building and a white-weatherboard one.
We see the role of an accountant, first and foremost, as a trusted advisor, but we also see it as a whole lot more. We see it more as a family manager, as the... We often use the term the financial GP as well. We like to take the client on a full journey here at Sammut Bulow and we do things like cash flows, we do things like budgets for clients, we do things like SWOT workshops.
We want to help the client understand their business and, I suppose, understand where they want to take their business as well. So we generally find our hands-on approach to be successful, and clients are happy with it.
Brad walks down a corridor with a brunette woman. She wears a black and white striped skirt and a black blouse. They pass small offices on either side as they walk into a reception area.
I suppose we are early embracers of change. We have made some mistakes with technology and probably not tested the market or worked out how we're gonna apply that software practically in our practice as well. But yeah, we tend to try to be market leaders, at least locally within our region with respect to software.
Very important this day and age to have a digital philosophy, and I think it's also a massive role to play in the younger generation as well, coming through in businesses to help the retiring partner or the senior people in the business grow that digital arm of the business.
There's a lot of misinformation as well, but we try to sort of tailor our approach to suit the client need and not ambush them upfront with, “Well, this is what you must do.” It's personalised to suit the client's situation and it's not "one size fits all".
It's having all these processes, all these business are viable. Being able to help the client. Being able to work out what is their value gap. What are they worth today and what do they need to get to in retirement?
Brad sits at a desk and uses a computer. He talks to the brunette who sits in a chair opposite.
If they want to sell their business, what's their business worth today and what value to they need to get it listed in the market? In our marketplace today, I suppose a lot of big success, whether rightly or wrongly, is judged by perception, and if you're not moving forward with technology and you're seen to be redundant in the way that you manage your accounts and use your bookkeeping systems, well, then you might fall behind. So, generally, whether it's a recommendation from a supplier or a customer, or from a friend to use digital technology, I generally find that it's a good reason to adopt change.
Brad and the brunette walk across the glass walkway.
We've seen a lot of factors in play when it comes into valuing a business as well. And a business that is modern, a business that has all the policies and procedures documented, a business which has great software platforms, great IP policies, will always value more than a business that has manual documentation and relies on one person. To me, they are the biggest accomplishments when you can help a client go from a stressed life, a chaotic life, behind enlodgements, behind where they want to be financially, to a business where they can make decisions with confidence cause their figures are accurate.
With respect to clients in fear of moving to a digital environment, I think a lot of it is potentially hearsay why the don't want to apply change. They've spoken to a friend and they've had a bad experience, or they've read some bad press about a particular piece of software, but the main this is just fear of change and being used to what they're used to doing in the past as well. But we have had clients come into our office who have been using a cash book or some manual ledger for years and have been dead set against change. But offer them a free trial, or just a picture of what using a cloud-based accounting platform can look like, it may take time, but generally the apprehension does reduce.
Because when it comes to automating processes, having automatic reconciliation process, being able to email a client or group and having to fill one out themselves, being able to do live invoicing which reduces their accounts receivable days - once you sort of work out the benefits as opposed to the negatives, they know it's a change they have to make and they end up loving the product as well, because they've got more time to work on their business, to spend with family and to just have to themselves.
White text on a magenta background reads: Small Business Digital Taskforce. Join the conversation #smalldigbiz