Mastering the art of finding and keeping clients


Always available to assist clients as and when required so they don’t feel they need to have an internal accountant.

That is the advice from Vannessa Naidu, a director at Mastermind Business Support Services in Rosebank.

Mastermind is the November 2017 winner of Saiba’s Practice of the Month competition.

The company was originally founded by Vernon Naidoo in 2008.

In 2013 he approached a former university friend, Jashwin Pillay (CA(SA)) and Vannessa Naidu to join him and help expand the business, as managing director at the time.

With B-BBEE currently being such a high priority for most businesses, Vernon is focussing on helping companies comply with these requirements while Jashwin and Vannessa are responsible for growing all other aspects of the business.

Since they all worked as accountants at corporate companies before, they first set out recruiting clients by contacting former colleagues who have since started their own businesses and from there Mastermind mainly expanded by word of mouth. They have only recently started using social media to market themselves to new clients.

But, says Jashwin, it is difficult for accounting firms to gain new clients as most of them tend to stick with their current accounting service providers. Only when something goes wrong will they change to another service provider.

Vannessa says it is easier to find potential clients among new start ups, and that is the target for the short term.

“Often, new companies don’t know the importance of keeping proper records and we try to educate them on that,” she says.

As part of its marketing strategy, Mastermind offer specials such as a Black Friday special of free company registrations and another payroll special in which clients who sign up before the end of January 2018 only pay R500 for six months of service.

Vannessa says initially they made the mistake of spending too much time setting up long processes for their customers.

Today, all their clients are being serviced in the cloud.

Contrary to many business owners’ concerns for safety in the cloud, Vannessa says their clients have no safety concerns since the software they use – Sage One Accounting, for which they also are qualified advisors – has reliable built in security.

She says their clients, in fact, prefer working in the cloud because it eliminates the fear of accountants losing information or documents, and clients themselves can also access their information at any time, on SAGE One Accounting.

“We believe that we offer a superb service and are currently small enough to offer personal service to all our clients. We intend always being able to offer that personal touch as an advantage over our competitors,” says Vannessa.

Among the partners, Mastermind benefits from membership of SAIBA “who always assists me with my enquiries”, says Vannessa, as well as SAICA and SAIT through which the partners also stay abreast of the latest technical and legislative changes and get the support they need.

For the same reason, they also regularly attend networking events with other accountants.

To see what services Mastermind offers, click here.