Today on episode 42 of the Cloud Stories podcast I’m talking with Greg Tuckwell who’s been the Director of Poole Group since 1993 and CEO of Zerobooks since 2013. Greg joined Poole Group after 6 years with C&L (PWC) doing insolvency and came to Poole Group to set up a Business management division. Three years as an engineering draftsman before that. Greg had never done tax and always focussed on systems, processes, feedback/reporting and business improvement. His passion is to challenge and improve how a business operates and he has done a number of successful business turnarounds. That passion/focus has now moved to cloud based systems
Poole Group is an accounting practice with around 60 staff across a range of specialised fields from standard compliance to SMSF and have our own AFSL licence to offer wealth planning and insurances without being tied to one brand. Poole Group also have two coders on staff to automate as many processes as possible.
ZeroBooks is an offshoot of Poole Group and is designed to provide back office and white label bookkeeping to other accounting firms and was born with a global focus.
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In this episode I talk to Greg about:
- #ItsAllAboutTheView Greg’s version of Stop and Smell the Roses. You’ve got to enjoy what you do and life.
- If you’re coming to Brisbane Xerocon 2016 add a few days on and travel up to the Sunshine Coast where Greg Tuckwell is based.
- Most of our business comes from referrals and word of mouth.
- Greg’s background is in insolvency and has never done a tax return!
- The top three reasons for business failure Greg saw while working in insolvency were:
- Their processes weren’t good
- Their information wasn’t good.
- They made the wrong management decisions.
- Focus was on processes, information, management reporting, and kpi’s.
- When they saw Xero come through realised they could build a whole business platform using the eco-system.
- Benefits of working in insolvency as a young accounting graduate.
- Staff initially suggested Greg should look at Xero. Attended Xerocon Melbourne 2012 and it left a big impact. Xero gave their vision, they said this is where we are, these are our deficiencies, this is our future, and this is our vision. What really got me was when Stuart McLeod said Xero would have payroll by March 2013. Once payroll came out we moved forward with Xero.
- 5 steps to developing systems and processes:
- Understand what is required and what the outcomes are.
- Understand what the client needs. A process for one client may be different to another.
- There may be several options – need to build that in and identify what is best for the client.
- Processes are documented as detailed as possible. The practice gives a procedures manual to the clients so they have a process they are meant to follow. [For other business this could range from creating unique procedure manual, through to Xero for Dummies, through to printing off notes from official Xero Training notes]
- The team may identify rework and refinement. They will help define it and improve the process.
- When recruiting staff look at experience, gut feel, culture, outgoing, good references.
- When recruiting need a mixture of Finder Minder Grinder in the team.
- Finder: People who are good at going out and finding work, getting work, bringing it in.
- Minder: Manage relationships. Talk to people. Good at communication. Can manage a team
- Grinder: Good at what they do. Typically introverted. Focused on being process driven and getting the job down.
- Need to identify the gaps and fill them. Work out what you want to do and collaborate with people who want to do the other work.
- Offer a scholarship for local students to go to the local university and study accounting for the last 12 years.
- Manage a team in the Philippines.
- Two coders are on staff – they have developed all the automation in the business. The website, the on-boarding, the proposal.
- Relationships are the most important part of any business. Always personal phone call at the start of the relationship.
- Suggest small businesses move to the clouds through a staged implementation.
- Once clients were used to Xero, we would suggest another solution. Don’t sell products, sell benefits and solutions. So the next conversation could be let’s move you to Receipt Bank.
- Don’t try and take it all on at one. Initially were trying to understand as many add-on solutions as we could. We recognised that we did not have the resources or expertise to become experts in them all. We focused on understanding Xero and the horizontals. A horizontal solution is one that can be applied to many different industries. When it comes to the verticals we talk to the integrators who specialise. So the big learning was collaboration.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Spotlight Reporting.
Resources mentioned in this interview
Connect with Greg Tuckwell
- Poole Group
- Greg Tuckwell
Thanks for listening! What’s been your biggest learning from today’s episode? Share in the comments below.
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