Nadine Chetty is a long-standing member of the SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) and a rebel to her core.
“We are the rebel accountants,” she says, “because we are at the cutting edge of technology and we address the real engine of the SA economy – the small and medium-sized enterprises that create jobs and drive things forward.”
Chetty’s company Ecomm Accounting Solutions in 2013 and since then has helped scores of clients to move their business to the cloud and seize the opportunities presented by ecommerce and online delivery.
The Covid-19 lockdown poses no real threat to accountants who understand that this is a time to recalibrate their practices and prepare for the huge opportunities that lie ahead.
Like many other Saiba members, she has embraced the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 lockdown to expand her client base by assisting them in claiming the UIF, small business and other forms of relief being made available by government and other sources.
Most of these clients came by word of mouth referrals from existing clients Ecomm was able to assist during lockdown.
“Claiming UIF relief was a stressful period for a lot of accountants, because we had to learn how to engage with the UIF administrators online, and in the beginning it was less smooth than it is now. But we had some great successes, and we were able to secure funds for clients so they could pay their workers and keep afloat in these difficult times. As a result of this we got a wave of new clients who also needed help, and we have converted most of these into long-term clients paying a monthly retainer. Accountants need to understand that they are crucial to the survival of businesses in SA and there has never been a better opportunity to expand your client base and assist them through the recovery phase which is now coming.”
Ecomm’s clients come from a range of sectors, including restaurants, retailers, guest houses – among the sectors most directly impacted by the lockdown. As part of the Intuit QuickBooks trainer-writer network, Chetty had migrated most of her clients to the cloud long before – and even during – the lockdown. This helped them survive one of the most harrowing times in living memory. Her restaurant clients were able to sell online as soon as the lockdown moved to Alert Level 4, and the company assisted those in the hospitality trade to apply for the R50,000 grants being made available by government.
“I have a love for people and businesses, and I have a passion for helping them grow. That’s what got me to get into accounting,” she says. “QuickBooks Online gave me a platform to go out and train, and once you can show clients the possibilities for expanding their businesses, they jump at it.”
“Going forward, computers will do most of the accounting work. If you’re still offering bookkeeping services, that will become a more difficult sell in the future. You need to specialise, and our firm has decided to specialise in ecommerce, because this is the quickest way to scale up any business.”
Her advice for other accountants: if you are not already in the cloud, you need to get there and then get your clients there. That not only makes life simpler for everyone, it produces recurring revenue for the accountants, and opens up new business opportunities for the client.
Chetty is passionate about motivating other accountants and is more than willing to share her knowledge. Ecomm Accounting Solutions is about to enter its newest and most dramatic phase of expansion, using online marketing for the most part. Though based in Pretoria, she has clients in Durban and Cape Town that she has never met face-to-face. “What we are planning now is to take our services internationally, to the US and Europe. This is the world in which we now operate and you don’t have to be in the US to offer services there. This can all be done online.”
You can reach Nadine Chetty at: firstname.lastname@example.org