This is a story about Audrey and her struggles with a client, until she attends the Accounting Business Expo.
The afternoon had darkened dramatically in Sydney as the storm rolled in. Wind howled through the streets, leaves rustling in the gutters with discarded rubbish. People hurried to their destinations, eager to be with good company and safe in the knowledge they have shelter awaiting. But that wasn’t the feeling Audrey had, not at all. As she made her way across the street, dodging puddles full of water, looking for a place where she hoped would be solace, she thought back on her day. The nasty weather was a subtle indicator of how the last meeting of the day had gone, coupled with a ladder she now had in her stocking. Her client had hurried her out the door to make his way to another meeting with investors, not allowing her to take stock of what he had just told her.
His business was growing, fast, and while that would be good news to so many people, for Audrey and her accounting business it was not. Audrey was the entrepreneur’s accountant, and he was talking big numbers, expansion, and more stores. An experienced accountant of many years, Audrey had seen businessmen come and go, businesses flourish or go under for various reasons. Her skill-set was exceptional, with the an uncanny ability to draw out even the smallest detail which could make or break a business. She was well sought after because of these skills, and respected by the many clients who were on her books. But none of them had scared her like Greg did today, after telling her his plans. He was about to go big! So big in fact, that she would be able to charge more work for him, matching her success with his. But there was a problem, a chink in her armour. It’s an often over-looked issue for many accountants as their client’s business’ flourish. All the tools she had available to her were not up to the task. They were off-the-shelf, purchased by many, but not good enough for what Greg needed. Oh, they could do the job with a lot of fiddling around, but Greg didn’t want that, he wanted more. More features, more capabilities, more customisations and more data, always more data.
Lightning flared in the distance as thunder crashed overhead, shocking her back to the present. She needed to get inside. She wasn’t sure on the name of the venue, sure that it would come to her when she saw a sign, a light, anything to help her find the way. She felt in her pocket for the business card from Accentis that was handed to her only two days before, the corners slights crumpled from being nervously handled in her pocket since the meeting. Charles was his name, the card given by a fellow accountant, “if you ever find yourself stuck in a bind” was all he said. Fortuitous or not, Audrey had managed to secure a meeting with Charles and his friend Tim, if only she could find the place. Her pride would only hold out for so much longer before she would need to make the call, to admit defeat and need directions, which she hated to have to admit, but she rarely came to this area of the city. She was keen to meet with Charles and Tim, they could be her way forward. On the phone Charles sounded energetic, knowledgeable and like he was always smiling when he talked, as if there was no problem he and Tim couldn’t solve together. If only she could find her way! A pigeon flew up from the ground and as she almost stumbled half from fight, half from anger. She looked up where the bird had gone, to see a huge, welcoming sign that said “Welcome to the Accounting Business Expo”. She’d made it!
Charles and Tim had been busy all day and just finished up with a gentleman as Audrey was navigating through the press of people. It was in that moment the in-house music had caught their ears. Tim remarked to Charles about the choice of music, gladly reciting the piece of music, and the fact he could play it himself on a number of instruments. Charles smiled in return knowing that Tim was an excellent musician, as well as an accomplished juggler. Only 15 mins before, a potential customer had walked up to Tim, handed him 3 eggs and told him he needed to juggle them before he would chat with him. Tim, as promised when he put out the challenge that he would juggle if someone bought eggs or oranges, proceeded to juggle away. Charles was just about to comment to Tim on his own less than stellar knowledge of music, when a lady approached the stand, looking relieved as much as exasperated. “Are you Charles” she asked?
Charles’ smile beamed as he stood up and said “I am, you must be Audrey, this is Tim”, as Tim also stood up to greet her and indicated a chair where could sit down.
“I’m so glad I found you, the weather outside has turned terrible and I wasn’t sure I would make it” said Audrey.
“Well, you’re here now” said Tim, “Would you like a drink of water, or a coffee”?
“A coffee would be great thanks”!
“No worries, here you go. Now, you said on the phone you had a problem, and someone pointed you in our direction”?
Audrey welcomed the coffee, and proceeded to go through the problem she had and how she wasn’t sure how she could help Greg, and that she didn’t want to lose him as a client just because he wanted a change. She wanted to change too, to learn more about what’s available and be more proactive, so she didn’t have this gut feeling again with other clients. “To be able to give them the best solution for their business” is what she said. Charles and Tim listened, asked a few questions throughout, drawing out further details and specifics that didn’t even cross her mind before. “They must really understand my issue to know to ask all these questions” she thought, as they continued to talk. More and more they talked, sharing stories, requirements and capabilities, it was an eye opening experience for Audrey. She couldn’t believe that there was a software product available, Accentis Enterprise, that could do all the things her current client’s software did, and so much more! Not only that, as Charles mentioned numerous time because Audrey had to keep asking “That’s right, Accentis training for accountants is completely free of charge”. Charles and Tim stood up as Audrey went to leave, smiled and bid each other goodbye.
Audrey could hardly believe what she heard as she walked away. Not only were Charles and Tim able to give her free training in Accentis that would help her business immensely, it would help her clients businesses so much more. She would be able to offer a level of service unmatched previously, because she was no longer constrained to the software products of her other clients. The benefits were huge! No more losing clients who grow big and need to move off their smaller accounting systems and asking her for advice which she didn’t have previously. Being able to not only offer a solution, but increase the workload and work more efficiently is always a good thing. Getting paid for value-adding and not data entry, and experience a better client relationship, it’s just a win-win!
There was a pep in her step as she made her way to the exit of the Accounting Business Expo, so many of her fears and worries had been laid to rest by Charles and Tim from Accentis. She felt excited, invigorated and couldn’t wait to get in touch with Greg to let her know she had a solution to his woes, and would be able to continue to help him. She’d had a win, and felt great! She stepped outside the door and noticed the afternoon storm had blown over and the night was going to be clear. “Hmm” she thought, “I might call my friends who work close to here and see if they are still going for drinks tonight. I didn’t feel like it before, but now I could really do with a cocktail or two”. As she left the AB Expo she saw a young man walking towards the door, looking at the entrance. She made eye contact, reached out and handed him a business card. “If you’re stuck in a bind” she said to him, and walked away. He looked down at the slightly crumpled Accentis business card, smiled, then put it in his waist pocket. He already knew Charles, he was heading into the expo to catch up with him and to challenge Tim to juggle some eggs. Tim had never failed in his juggling.
If you’re an Audrey or a Greg, we really are sending Charles and Tim to the Accounting Business Expo on the 21st / 22nd of March at stand B35. Come along and meet the guys, and yes, Tim is up for a juggling challenge if you want to bring something along for him to juggle.