I have always wanted to help people do better, whether that be coaching under 13s to improve their football skills, helping collegues with Excel spreadsheet macros or managing a team of 20 Business Intelligence developers. Through my leadership training I identified that I’m motivated by being an expert and using this knowledge to help other people and add value.
As a 12 years post qualified CIMA accountant and senior manager at the Co-operative I should have been happy. My Business Intelligence team had just completed their third year of outstanding product development and the customer feedback was outstanding. A truly market leading BI proposition, no mean feat considering the large players that operate in the UK Food Retail sector. I wasn’t excited though because all the stakeholders lacked engagement as they were too far removed from the impact of the business performance. I wanted to really make a difference and add value by helping people who had been brave enough to set up their own businesses. In 2015 I quit my job, and, alongside another enlightened colleague, we launched our own BI company to deliver on this objective.
Post launch we rapidly identified that we had to find the appropriate route to market for our products. We were drawn to the accountancy sector due to our own expertise and our understanding of the bond of trust that exists between the business owner and their accountant. We looked at the increased digitalisation of the UK accountancy sector, driven by the governments MTD ambitions and felt there was an opportunity to add value. Having researched the existing accountancy BI landscape we felt that most products were feature heavy and complex as software vendors focused on showing off their functionality rather than delivering what accountants were looking for. Our unique point of different would be that our products are made by accountants for accountants.
With this knowledge and understanding, our products have been created in accordance with three fundamental principles. First that our accountants always retain control. Our software is designed to increase visibility of performance from summarised annual figures all the way down to individual transactions. This allows our accountants to ensure that their clients stay on track by investigating any performance anomalies. Second, the products had to be a complete turnkey colution. No accountancy practice should have to hire BI developers or spend thousands retraining their teams. It’s our responsibility to ensure that you receive the right information in the right place at the right time to help your clients make better decisions. Finally, the last principle was that our products should help you to delight your clients. By bringing actionable recommendations to improve performance, our accountants are able to take a proactive approach to their client relationships. Our accountants say that they are no longer seen as an overhead to the businesses that they support. Some even claim to contribute ten times the value of their annual fees, despite increasing revenue with new advisory services.
These days as Director of Operations and Product Development it is my responsibility to constantly delight our customers with a highly innovative end to end analytical solution that adds real value to their client relationships. Once again I am using my knowledge and expertise to help people improve their performance and now because I have the opportunity to see the difference it makes to people’s businesses I am doing it with a smile on my face.