Welcome back to Winslyn one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is specified financial advice. Not every business is the same. Marnus Broodryk, also an entrepreneur changed this challenge into a solution and so, The Beancounter was created.
Winslyn: Marnus tell us more about what The Beancounter is?
Marnus: We are an accounting firm, but with a change. We focus a lot on technology and we provide outsourcing accounting services for SME’s. We basically take over your financial department or division, you outsource it to us and we make sure that things run smoothly.
Winslyn: A lot of people would say that there’s a lot of accountants, how did you realise that there’s a big gap in the market for your business?
Marnus: It started when I was a clerk where I worked with so many different companies and business owners and entrepreneurs always have this need to get more information, you have this reactive service of 6 months after a financial year ends and you get your financial statements, then your accountant tells you 6 months ago you made a loss of a million rand. It simply doesn’t work in today’s fast paced business world. I had the need to get good, accurate information for business owners and we used technology to do that.
Winslyn: How exactly did you use technology to make accounting easier for small businesses?
Marnus: There are many things that we use and a lot of applications that we use. The biggest thing is automation and to get the processes correct. One of the largest things we use is processes to transfer data. We’re using SageOne, soon they will launch it. You’ll be able to scan in your physical papers with all your data and it will automatically be processed on your application.
Winslyn: Let’s talk about normally having all your physical invoices, quotations and slips, then you give it to your accountant. Thereafter it takes a few months and then they give you information. How does this differ from your processes, as this is how most accountants work?
Marnus: 95% of all accountants work like that. The way we do it differently is that we give you a scanner and ask you to scan all your documents daily. We then process it daily and everything stays up to date.
Winslyn: Let’s move on to you as an entrepreneur. You have a blog, why do you find it necessary to write a blog and what’s it about?
Marnus: As I’m also an entrepreneur I am passionate about small businesses and entrepreneurs. I enjoy speaking to other entrepreneurs. I guess the blog is my outlet, where I just get to write. I wrote today about people thinking being an entrepreneur is an easy job, where I said that it’s not easy.
Winslyn: Let’s talk about the article. You’re saying that entrepreneurship isn’t easy, where do you think people got the misconception about what entrepreneurship is?
Marnus: People think it’s easy and I think the media and society are responsible for that. People think that if you’re an entrepreneur that you can work from wherever you want, they think you’re in charge, you’re ordering people around, you make the most money, etc. It’s not like that at all. Entrepreneurs are the people that work until late, we have to pay everyone else before we can pay ourselves. It’s a rough path, but it’s worth it.
Winslyn: I agree that you should have an accountant. What’s your opinion on what the main issue is between accountants and entrepreneurs?
Marnus: I think our industry is too slow, whereas businesses are fast. We can’t wait 6 months to find out what happened in our businesses the previous year.
Winslyn: Entrepreneurs are usually the people that envision the bigger picture. Then there’s the accountant that’s the brake on your business. You wrote an article where you said “Entrepreneur, is your accountant not killing your business?” Why did you write that?
Marnus: Because it’s definitely what’s happening, your accountant isn’t with the business owner. The business owner wants to use cloud services, applications etc. Whilst the accountant isn’t using it so your accountant tells you that those applications won’t work and that you should rather stick to your desktop program. Even though there’s great applications available.
Winslyn: Let’s talk about small businesses in South Africa, what do you think is the biggest challenge for them now?
Marnus: There’s so many things happening in the economy. There are so much thing small businesses should comply with. To be an entrepreneur in general is a difficult thing, there’s so many issues. But I think red tape and to get to everything is a big challenge.
Winslyn: I want to focus on the red tape you’re mentioning. What’s the worst red tape small businesses deal with?
Marnus: There’s quite a lot and I have quite a controversial opinion about it, because people say that there should be less red tape, whereas I say that you can’t really take anything away. Our government should make it as easy as possible for us and I think they’re doing their best. I think SARS is a phenomenal organisation. They get a lot done, they make it easier for the business owner and that’s what’s important.
Winslyn: What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned when you started The Beancounter?
Marnus: There’s a lot of things and at times I wish I could go back and do it over. I think that to get the right clients and to promote the right product and to ‘live’ your business. That’s what’s most important, you start your business just to start a business but you must really live through your business.
Winslyn: How do you get a work/life balance?
Marnus: Does such a thing exist? I struggle, I love travelling so I try to do that a lot.