XU Magazine - Issue 17

Accountants exploding with growth by changing 7 million lives

7mil-tax-savings-Inspire-Life-Changing-Accountants (1)
Written by Steve Pipe FCA

Inspire CA was founded in 2013 by Australian Ben Walker at the age of 23 with a simple idea: what if, instead of just doing tax and reporting on history, accountants could give game-changing advice that could help people create a better future for their businesses, their families and the world?

Back then they had less than AUS $30,000 in fees. Now they have grown to three offices, two partners and have been named as one of the Top 100 “Cool Companies” in Australia.

Inspire CA do far more innovative things than there is room to explain in this article – which is why the full 5000-word case study is available as a download for you here: www.stevepipe.com/p/million. So this article focuses on the most extraordinary factor in their success: how they have exploded with growth by changing over 7 million lives.

$1 million tax saving campaign

In 2016 Inspire CA went public with an audacious goal: to save their clients $500,000 in tax in the 12 weeks before the tax year end. And they smashed through that target, achieving $1.26 million – an average of $27,416 per client who went through the process.

So in 2017 they went one step further, setting a 12 week goal of $1 million in tax savings, which they again surpassed.

The process they used was designed and systemised so that anyone in the team could deliver it without Ben needing to be involved. In particular:

  • Ben did a one-time exercise to identify all the potential key tax saving strategies likely to be relevant to their ideal clients and then created a spreadsheet to quantify the magnitude of the resulting savings (contrasting it to the tax bill without any extra tax planning).
  • The first step in the system is a scripted phone call and a review of their Xero files – which give the team members the information they need in order to use the checklists to identify which of those potential tax saving strategies is relevant to the client in question.
  • That analysis is then reviewed by a colleague for quality control purposes.
  • It is then turned into a report – with many of the strategies coming from a standardised report template.
  • Next comes a 60-minute meeting at which the team member explains those relevant strategies and helps the client to decide which ones they want to implement
  • The team member also updates the spreadsheet at the meeting so that the client can see exactly how much their chosen strategies will save them
  • The client is then invited to complete a standard A4 Impact Statement sheet with (A) their name, (B) how much tax they will save, and (C) what they are going to use that extra money for.
  • They then use a smartphone to record a few seconds of video footage of the client explaining how they feel about saving that amount of tax and what they are going to do with it – and ask for permission to share it on social media
  • Finally, all the Impact Statement sheets are proudly displayed visibly on the wall in their offices – to inspire the team, remind clients how good their accountants are, and give prospects a compelling reason to become clients.

For existing clients this tax review is an automatic part of their standard “It’s all sorted” package, while for prospects it is delivered as part of the $500 money back guaranteed “Look Under The Hood” service.

In both cases, if the client wants help implementing any of the tax strategies Inspire CA will agree a fixed fee upfront before providing that help. So it is a process that can also generate a lot of additional tax planning income.

Ben explains: “In the 12 weeks we ran the 2017, [we won] at least five great new clients… In

fact it was so successful that we had to close the door and start turning prospects away because we didn’t want to jeopardise our performance standards. And exactly the same thing happened in 2016 too.”

1 million days of water

“We noticed that when we went public with big hairy audacious targets, it created so much momentum that the targets were met much more easily than we dared to imagine.”

So they decided to go public with another big hairy audacious target: to provide one million days of life giving clean water to families in Malawi who would otherwise be prone to disease and illness due to dirty water, or would be prevented from going to school because they had no choice but to walk for hours a day to carry water from distant wells.

Ben’s partner Harvee put it like this: “We were invited to Necker Island to spend time with Richard Branson. The premise of the week was to work out how we could all use our businesses to do more good in the world. But, on reflection, we decided not to go. You see, as accountants and business owners we love crunching numbers. But we had recently come across a number that made us really sad: 1.6 million people in Malawi (and a staggering 633 million across the world) are at risk from disease or even death due to lack of clean drinking water. We figured that the opportunity that is Necker would be there for some time, but for the 1.6 million Malawi there was no time to lose. So we thought we could make more of an impact by heading for Malawi, than we could by going to Necker Island.”

As a result they partnered with Buy1 Give1 (www.b1g1.com) giving movement to automatically link their services to the provision of clean water for families in Malawi. For example,

  • They used www.b1g1.com to give one week of life-saving water every time someone booked a Test Drive or attended one of their webinars
  • They gave a month’s worth of water every time someone bought a Look Under The Hood session
  • And they gave a year’s supply of water every time someone became a client

7 million days of help

In 2018, Inspire CA launched their ‘Day for a Dollar’ campaign to combine their determination to make life better for clients through tax saving and with their commitment to using www.b1g1.com to make life better for disadvantaged people. So now, for every dollar of tax they proactively save a small business, Inspire CA also helps a family in need for a day. And by September 2018 they had already given over 7 million days of access to life changing food, water, hygiene and sanitation to families in need, across 16 countries.

The buzz created with the clients and on social media, proved that Ben and Inspire CA cared, and this in turn inspired their team. However, the benefits gained from this “buzz” were not the rationale for the company doing this, but it was because it was the right thing to do and to inspire others to do the same. The campaigns run by Inspire CA and partnership with www.b1g1.com, showed that every business, big or small, had the power to change lives. Inspire CA, did not go out of their way to do this, but integrated these changes into its everyday activities, setting an example.  

Free tools that help you to do the same

To help you follow Inspire CA’s example, I am giving away a complete “Get and Give A Million” system to any accounting firm who cares enough to download it. It is free, and gives everything you need in ready-to-use detail to:

  1.     Launch an Inspire CA style campaign
  2.     Use it to win new clients and earn bigger fees from existing clients, and
  3.     Make life better for underprivileged people

You can download the full system here – www.stevepipe.com/p/million – along with the full Inspire CA case study that inspired it. All for free.

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About the author

Steve Pipe FCA

Steve is a leading researcher, author of 11 books including “The world’s most inspiring accountants” and a former UK Entrepreneur Of The Year.