A qualified Chartered Accountant and Registered BAS Agent and self-confessed numbers nerd – specializing in helping business owners to understand their financial information. Stacey Price is no boring, traditional accountant. she embraces cloud technology, and is passionate about training and educating my clients.
She has over 19 years of experience as an accountant which has provided her with skills, experience and training to deliver complex financial information in an easy to understand manner. Taking on all roles within the financial, accounting, training and bookkeeping function for your business, she loves getting involved with your business and sees herself as part of your journey.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Stacey Price: Hi, my name is Stacey Price and I am the founder, owner and chief numbers nerd at Healthy Business Finances, an online accounting and bookkeeping practice in Australia. Numbers are our jam – and we cover all things accounting software, financial education, cash flow, payroll, GST and setting your business up to become a profitable enterprise.
To get us started, Can you tell our readers what does your company solve differently in the crowded marketplace? Give an example or share a story.
Stacey Price: The accounting and bookkeeping space is crowded – I mean cloud technology is a bless and a curse. But as much as we love cloud technology to do our job, we still feel clients need to understand their numbers. Like really understand what their accounting software is spitting out, what does it mean, what story do the numbers tell. And we can break down those confusing numbers, into a story that our clients understand. One of the best compliments we get is “you just don’t seem like what I expected an accountant to be”. We love that we are non traditional, we love that we don’t have an office, we love that our team all work remotely around Australia, and we love that we can service clients Australia wide and break down the “accounting jargon” for them.
While your company is growing, what are some of the challenges you face? Hiring? Tech development? Raising capital? Branding? Tell us more about the journey.
Stacey Price: Our business continues to grow each year which is fabulous, however all our staff other than myself work part time. All of our employees are working parents, so they are already juggling a lot of things, and there are only so many hours in the day that they can work. So it is a big job managing workload, the clients expectations, the employees willingness to take on more work but also with being able to complete the work on time and to the high standard that we expect internally. I always said that I would never have staff when I started the business over 9 years ago, and now I have 6 other staff, so clearly I was a bit naïve way back when and hugely underestimated how having the right team can propel the business forward. Yes, managing staff is a constant job in itself, but our staff are our biggest asset so I am always looking at ways to keep them happy, keep them motivated, make sure they are coping and most of all, doing work that they love.
Keeping up with technology is also the other biggest factor we face. Not only in accounting software but other tech programs such as internal message programs, time tracking programs, job management programs. We are always needing to upskill in various platforms and are constantly assessing if what we are doing is actually helping the business or helping our team. Whilst I am the boss, these decisions are team decisions and input from everyone is required to really ensure we work like a well oiled machine.
Everyone has a different story, what influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur, what would you have done differently?
Stacey Price: I was made redundant from my management accountant role back when I had my first child. That hit me emotionally and mentally more than anyone ever knew (probably even myself). But then when I had my second child, I was made redundant again and I just thought there had to be jobs out there that were family friendly or available to working parents who wanted to use their skills, but not necessarily work the standard “9 to 5” business hours. But there was nothing back then. Cloud accounting wasn’t really taking off yet, and working from home in a corporate accounting practice was basically unheard of.
So, I started my business. I mean there must be loads of people who needed assistance with the numbers side of things but didn’t have or couldn’t afford a full time in house person. I literally started my business overnight. I was already at rock bottom, it wasn’t like things could get any worse. I gave myself 6 months and thought if it didn’t work out, I would go and find a “real job”. Here I am nearly 10 years later and our business is growing each and every year.
What would I have done differently – to be honest I always think the answer “should” be to plan things a bit more. I literally calculated an hourly rate in a trusty excel spreadsheet and off I went. I had my accounting degree and chartered accountant qualification and years of work experience – but zilch “owning a business experience”. In hindsight I must have been totally mad to just dive in head first. But to be honest, if I planned things more, I probably still would be planning it all these years later and never would have started.
So instead, my advice to younger Stacey is, never make assumptions about things that you simply don’t know. Don’t assume clients will just miraculously find you, you need to put yourself out there. Don’t assume people always tell the truth, sometimes it’s the things that they don’t tell you which actually tells you the real story. Don’t assume that someone in the older generation won’t be your ideal client . We have someone in their 80’s who is an awesome client – but on paper, many would have overlooked him.
Now for the main focus of this interview: what qualities or characteristics do women entrepreneurs have that make them great leaders? Please share some examples.
Stacey Price: What makes me a great leader : compassion and understanding. One of the reasons I started hiring staff is I wanted other working parents to not face redundancies like I did. I wanted to give an opportunity to those people who also felt like there was nothing available to them.
Communication (the good, the bad and everything in between) – I believe that just because I am the business owner doesn’t mean keeping employees in the dark about business decisions. Our staff are part of those decisions and are told about how the business is tracking and why we need to make changes.
We treat everyone as equals – there is no hierarchy ladder that people need to climb to get further ahead. Our employees have their client portfolios and they are responsible for those clients.
We don’t hire based on a resume or people passing a certain “skill test”, I can train anyone who has the right attitude, and no question is too stupid to ask. If we wanted to work with robots, we would just implement more technology, but I want to lead people and create leaders out of those people, so attitude is everything.
I also operate a safe environment for people to work/thrive in a way that suits them. Not everyone works and learns in the same way so it is about being in tune with each employees difference and helping them thrive in their chosen way.
Oh, and I trust my gut. I feel that my “bullshit meter” is usually pretty accurate.
What are some of the biggest challenges you still see women face while conducting business, compared to their male counterparts? What would you like to see change, and how would you make it happen?
Stacey Price: I feel many women still suffer from a crisis of confidence, especially as their business grows. We tend to overthink everything, and every rejection we tend to take personally. What we need to see is that rejection is everywhere, and whilst it hurts a little (or a lot), we can learn things from it. We can do things differently next time to hopefully turn that rejection around. I feel many women stumble when they hit rejection and go backwards, rather than trying to find that magical path forwards.
I think confidence comes from seeing and hearing the truth, the hard yards that “successful” people have gone through. Usually those tough times and internal business challenges are just that, internal. They are not publicised, they are not often spoken about. So women tend to feel that we can never fail, failure makes us weak. But in reality, everyone fails, usually multiples times over, when running a business. It is how you pick yourself up and whether you choose to continue or retreat that sets leaders apart.
The other challenge I see if women not going for those ambitious opportunities as they feel they are not qualified or they are not “worthy enough”. So they don’t put that proposal in, or they short change their offering, or they don’t put their hand up to speak at an event. Whilst some of that comes with experience and a confidence boost, I feel as women we need to get better at always looking at the glass as half empty rather than seeing it as half full. We need to stop focusing only on the negative (like the things that could go wrong so therefor we don’t try), and instead look at the endless possibilities if we do give it a really good effort. We need to believe that we belong, that we have a chance and that we are not “different” to our male counterparts. We might think differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the same business success.
With all of your experience as a business leader, what is the most important thing you can tell fellow entrepreneurs that you’d like to share with aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Stacey Price: The glass is always half full. There is always a positive in every situation, you just need the strength to find it.
Part of that strength is surrounding yourself with other amazing business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs and telling yourself that you belong there. Together, we lift each other up. Alone, the road is windy and long.
But you need to be honest with those you surround yourself with. You need to have trust in them to ask questions, to seek advice, to put your hand up when things are not working so get some constructive feedback. Look around you, if the people you are connecting with don’t fit that criteria, keep looking, you need to find your people who have your back.
What do you plan on tackling during 2022? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Stacey Price: I must admit that I usually have a million plans swirling in my head, and struggle to pinpoint which one we should actually implement. However this year I am finally completing my hours to apply for my tax agent licence. This means we can add an additional tax arm to our practice, which is something our clients have been wanting for a while now. It is super exciting and super nerve wracking – but that is exactly how I know it is the right direction to take.
This means that I need to think about our existing team structure and how that needs to change to support this new service offering – again with the focus on we don’t want to add a new service and not provide it at the highest level. So workload, team members, software to support the new service – all of that needs to be evaluated to ensure there are no holes or gaps.
Each year I keep saying, no more staff….but I have a feeling this new service offering will mean we might need to find another numbers unicorn to join our little team to share the workload around..
How do you keep learning? Podcast? Books? Audiobooks? Videos? Share some of your greatest sources of inspiration? Share an impactful story.
Stacey Price: Oh gosh the learning never ends. Literally I feel like we learn something and six weeks later there is already an update, a new piece of legislation, a software change. It is relentless, but if we want to be at the top of our game, we need to be across so many different types of updates.
Within our team we offer a few options – webinars are great as our team do work different hours so webinars means they can login and listen/learn at a time that suits them.
I also love live conferences as that is my preferred choice to learn and I try to attend accounting software conferences, and also professional accounting conferences to get a broad range. This is great not only for the physical learning, but the networking and catching up with others in our industry to share stories.
I personally don’t love audio books – but in my true tech style, I love an app called Blinkist, which is an audio app which gives you quick 15 minute audio snapshots of a range of books. These can range from Leadership to Strategy, to Time Management to Meditation. So much variety and I find this amazing to listen to before bed to get the creative mind flowing.
I’m sure our readers will be very thankful for the insights you have shared. Where can our readers follow up with you?
Stacey Price: It has been an absolute pleasure.
People can follow our story via out website – www.healthybusinessfinances.com.au or via our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HealthyBusinessFinances
or we are also over on Instagram as well https://www.instagram.com/healthybusinessfinances/
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Stacey Price for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Stacey Price or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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