With the increasing development of technology many companies have been forced to close their doors or reinvent themselves. Think of the products that have gone by the wayside due to the digital economy; Kodak, Walkman, record stores.
Our business, Proactive Accountants Network (PAN) is no different. Established for nine years, with team members in four countries and over 2000 Accounting Firms as clients, today we are killing our long held brand.
My business partner, Colin Dunn and I made the decision to bury the current brand and reinvent it as a software business called PANALITIX, in the process completely restructuring the previous offerings into an online software provider.
Our previous model was very labour dependent. It involved accountants flying to our offices every quarter for face-to-face coaching on running better businesses. Now with online learning, webinars and the vast array of information on the web, this model is becoming unviable and difficult to scale, even though it delivers outstanding results for the firms that use it. We will continue to run this program for the firms involved – however under the PANALITIX banner.
We have spent the past three years making this transition to develop a new software application, PANALITIX. This tool bundles all our previous learning and coaching content into the backend of the software which is used by accountants to consolidate all their clients’ data from all accounting software onto one dashboard.
One of our star clients, David Cowling from Brisbane based accounting firm Roberts & Cowling told me: “‘The main reason I use PANALITIX is to keep my eye on the ball with my clients.” PANALITIX displays businesses’ data in real time to help pre-empt what’s going on in a client’s business. The program sends daily alerts to the accountant and flags if one of their business clients is in trouble. This now means that accountants can be proactive rather than reactive and call a business owner to discuss worrying financial trends before it’s too late.
Our group coaching has had a profound impact on the ability of accountants to positively impact their clients’ businesses. Over 700 accounting firms have been through the coaching program. Over the life of the program, we have developed a substantial library of video based training and associated content for accountants to run a better accounting business and then help their clients run better businesses. PANALITIX integrates all of this content, providing not just a technology solution but also the ‘how tos’ that accountants need to properly advise their clients.
Now that we have reinvented our business, we are positively influencing more businesses than ever and will achieve our goal a lot faster. Plus the bonus is we have created our own category, and have a unique piece of software that does not exist anywhere else in the world. If an accountant needs help with developing an area of a client’s business – we have the resources to help them deliver it cost effectively to clients.
The creation of PANALITIX was not without heartache. Software development is a hungry beast, and we were totally funded out of operating cash flow. We have a team of twenty developers who have been working on this for three years to get it to the stage we are at now. With over 350 firms already using PANALITIX and getting great results with their clients, we are very confident that we are moving in the right direction.
Our General Manager, Rob Pillans, has been leading the development team. I asked Rob for his insights on what is happening in the profession. He said: “In order to survive in this economy of digital disruption, you have to evolve or dissolve. We have over 130 hours of learning content for accountants and we just had to repurpose it and present it in the framework of a cloud software solution so that it suits the future of business and the future of the accounting profession. We have worked very closely with accounting software developers on their API’s so that we now automatically integrate with Xero, MYOB AccountRight Live and QuickBooks Online. PANALITIX pulls the data from these programs to monitor clients and help accountants provide the advice and conversation they need to be having with business owners.”
Our whole team is excited about the new direction and we’re looking forward to continuing to serve the accounting profession around the world and to help them make a massive difference with their clients.
To celebrate the re-invention we burned the old brand yesterday. It was a cathartic experience. You can find more details on our new website, www.panalitix.com.
Right now I am sitting in a jungle camp site in Thailand (I kid you not) with 3G on my phone and 6Meg wireless running through the camp. Already this morning I have looked at my emails through Gmail, I checked out Facebook for 5 minutes, I checked my bank accounts, I accepted 11 new LinkedIN connection requests, I had a look on our online community to see of the client chatter and I looked at the daily report on the key metrics of my business. About 10 minutes of total ‘checking what is going on in my world’ time.
The daily report is automatically generated through our CRM program (www.salesforce.com) and we customise the main report every quarter in line with our quarterly theme. I can see the critical results of what we are focusing on right now. Event numbers, campaign results, client numbers, revenue & profit etc.
With everything on the ‘cloud’ you truly can run a business from anywhere in the world. I can see what it happening as it happens and respond accordingly. I don’t have to wait for the next meeting to jump on something I can see as a trend right now. I don’t have to wait for a lengthy report to tell me what an automated report can tell me.
I have team members in Brisbane, Darwin, Manila, Delhi and Vancouver. I have clients who use our software in 8 countries. How could you manage that with old technology systems on a hard drive or server? Well you can but it is very expensive and very slow.
It’s business real time. It’s a connected world. It’s exciting. It’s now time for a coffee then Elephant rides and Tiger cuddling later in the day. Stay tuned.
Accountants haven’t really needed to invent new products in the past. They did what the government told them to do and occasionally they did some special projects for clients – business advisory type projects. Everything was on a ‘do and charge’ basis.
That’s all changing. The profession is evolving into a technology driven, leveraged IP model where firms are looking at new ways to systemise and leverage their IP base. The objective is to look at what you know and then innovate new ways of delivering that. The delivery could be in a number of wide and varied formats such as:
- Group coaching
- Group training
- Manual / Report
- Video / DVD in a box
- Training program
- Software program
- Online subscription
It is the same IP but packaged in different ways. The hardest part (judging by the 46 Accountants we had in workshop last week talking about this) is coming up with what you actually know. Once you document your IP base then it’s a case of packaging it up and marketing it to your target audience. So what do you know? What does your firm know how to do? Here is my list….
Already we have 375 Accountants booked into our annual conference in Bali 2015. It’s going to be the best conference for Accountants in 2015. Early bird pricing @ $1,250 per person until September 30. Conference website is here. See video below for more info as well.
Last Thursday on August 28 was my 45th birthday. Instead of receiving gifts I decided to give gifts. The gift of vision.
Here’s the story. At our annual Accountants conference this year (6 weeks ago in Bali) I pledged 10% of the funds of those that signed up to the 2015 conference to a very significant charity in Bali. The registration total on the day came to $312,700. So $31,270 to be donated. See big cheque below.
The charity selected was created by the legendary John Fawcett. His charity is www.balieye.org. He started it 26 years ago with the single view of helping Balinese people to see again. To give the gift of vision. Blindness is a rampant problem in Bali due to diet, sun, diabetes and its even hereditary. Bali has one of the highest ‘blindness per capita’ ratios in the world and the foundation John started is doing something about it. In 26 years they have given over 40,000 Balinese the gift of sight. Quite staggering. Their goal is 80,000 by the year 2020 – and they’re on track for that.
The Balieye team are small (around 25 people) with 5 mobile vans and they are busy doing 6,000 cataract surgeries every year. It’s not a big foundation but it is very lean and it survives 100% on donations. Of the donations received only 9% is taken up in Administration costs and the rest goes to fix the problem.
Our donation will screen 10,000 and give glasses to those that need them. It will also create sight from total blindness of approx 100 people. On the day we visited I was especially moved by Ketut.
He is 31 years old and has been totally blind since birth. A French couple found him in the jungle and brought him to Sanur where the head office is. On the Friday afternoon he had the surgery (on just one eye at this stage) and on Saturday morning they took the patch off. For the first time in 31 years he saw his brother. He was very overwhelmed with the entire experience (as you would) and didn’t say a lot. He did say (through an interpreter) that he was keen to get the surgery so he could get a girlfriend!
It was an incredibly moving event to know that we are doing something good in the world. All through the power of Accountants! The photo’s tell the story but the video tells the best story about Ketut.