Emma Petroulas had been working for the accounting firm KPMG before she decided to bite the bullet and team up with Mark Veran and Aaron Wallace to found Nudge Accounting.
How did you come up with the idea for Nudge Accounting?
Nudge was born from speaking to and spending time with small business owners – both established and those still starting up. Many of these businesses told us they were not happy with the accounting side of things because it was expensive, but also due to the fact, there was a considerable time cost for them as well.
We thought there must be a better way of doing things. So we came up with a few ideas around using technology to help us help small businesses. We wanted the small businesses to be able to see the numbers every month and technology gave us that opportunity.
What were you doing before you started the business?
Before I started Nudge, I was at a ‘big four’ accounting firm, KPMG, and I was also lecturing in small business at the University of Technology, Sydney, which is something I still do and am really passionate about. In these roles, I got to see how many businesses operate, including some of their biggest worries and problems. I also had the chance to see how larger businesses use accounting information to make better decisions and I wanted small businesses to have the same opportunities.
What was the biggest challenge you had while starting out?
The biggest challenge we had when starting out was communicating our message. When we would say we are accountants, many people would automatically switch off. But what we had to do was get the message across that Nudge Accounting was something completely different.
We understand startups and small businesses because that’s all we take care of. We don’t do medium-sized businesses, or even large businesses, we actually turn them away.
What has been the most effective form of advertising for the business?
Our clients. We work on the basis that great customer service and offering a great product should lead to referrals and so far we have seen this happen. Almost all of our clients have referred to at least one other small business.
Do you think the Federal Government does enough to support small businesses?
The Federal Government has taken some positive steps to help out small businesses, however, I still think a lot more needs to be done. Some areas I would like to see addressed are:
• Compliance. Why do small businesses need to comply with many of the same tax rules and other laws as multi-national companies? While larger businesses might have the resources to manage these rules and requirements, how does the government expect small businesses to be able to deal with them affordably?
• Employing new workers. There should be incentives for small businesses to employ new workers, which would help the small business to grow and provide employment. That’s a big plus all around.
• When new laws are introduced, small businesses need to be considered more. For instance, when superannuation gradually rises from 9% to 12%, it will be small businesses that will feel the impact rather than big ones. Why? Because they often employ casual or part-time workers where superannuation is counted on top of their hourly rate.
• Big businesses often have the luxury of giving their staff a package, which means that any superannuation increases won’t change the amount of the package but will result in employees receiving less cash in their hands-on payday (the superannuation takes a bigger share of the package).