While accountants are necessarily focused on finances, for this accountant, money is secondary to helping his clients achieve their purpose.
"Everything comes down to having the right mindset. For me, I’m not motivated so much by money; it's a bi-product of what I love doing. What’s important to me is making a difference and giving my clients that chance to succeed,” says Adarsh Dutt, virtual CFO and co-founder of accounting firm Oyster Hub, which specialises in helping not-for-profits organisations and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) businesses.
“As an accountant, of course I talk to my clients about how we can help them to grow their business, minimise their tax and ensure they comply with regulations. But money can't buy you a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with your family. So, my focus is on how we can best use business tools, technology and automate as much as possible to help them realise their purpose,” he explains.
Adarsh’s philosophy is that, “we are students for life and learning never stops. It’s so important to share your experience and knowledge to help others in their journey.”
Oyster Hub has been a fully digital and cloud-based practice since day one, which was hugely beneficial when lockdowns happened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“COVID didn't really affect us too much when we had to work from home. My approach has always been to automate those lazy accounting tasks, so we can focus on doing what we love doing,” says Adarsh.
He says it’s important to use technology in the right way. “Too much time spent engaging with screens can cause social problems, mental health issues and stress. But if we use tech in a smart way, we can free up a lot of time we can spend enjoying life.”
Adarsh enjoys time outdoors and loves to jet ski on Sydney’s Hawkesbury River early in the morning, taking in the beauty of the stunning area. He also loves going off-roading and camping in the outback and waking up to the morning dew and wilderness.
He also likes to give his time back to the community by advocating for the under privileged and vulnerable people with disability to get the care and NDIS funding they deserve.
“I’m also learning to play the classical Indian Tabla drum, which gives me peace, pushes me to learn and keeps me focused. These are things money cannot buy.”
Supporting staff to achieve
Oyster Hub has a 10-strong team and Adarsh really focuses on supporting his staff to work to their full potential. The business is so named for the pearl in every oyster “We want to help all our clients find the pearl in the own lives; we’re all about making a difference in people's lives,” he says.
“Your staff spend more hours with you than they spend with their own families. So it's important you look after your staff. They are all individuals; they all have different mindsets. So how you work with them and coach them and make a difference to their lives depends on who they are as people. We also give everyone Fridays off work. So we have a long weekend every week.”
Adarsh introduced the four-day week at the start of this year and so far, it’s been a great success. “Everyone is relaxed, work gets done on time and we’re still hitting our targets.”
The business has started a not-for-profit organisation Oyster Care Foundation which funds advocacy work in the disability sectors and providing gap funding to people with disabilities. The foundation has a vision to develop a Wellness Centre and holiday Accommodation for people with disabilities.
Making a real difference to clients
Adarsh relies on Intuit QuickBooks and the Karbon workflow management tool to run the business and automate many tasks. Each year, he estimates this tool helps him save around 6,300 hours and $218,000 in non-productive work and performs tasks that are equivalent to the work of two staff members.
The business works with many NDIS clients and is able to make a huge difference to their businesses. For instance, in the case of one client, which ran a number of group homes around the country, shifting the business onto Intuit QuickBooks allowed it to automate tasks such as payroll and bookkeeping.
“The client ran reports for each group home using location tracking. This helped identify homes that were running at a loss and had not secured the right amount of funding. The restructure helped save an extra $50,000 a year.”
Adarsh explains he often plays an advisory role for clients. “I'm like a part-time CFO for them. After we’ve automated their accounting, each month we analyse their data and suggest changes to save them money, make them money and make their lives easier.”
His advice to other accounting firms to achieve success is firstly to make sure their own practice is running smoothly.
“You need to think outside the box to see how you can add value to clients. It’s all about helping them to have more time doing the things they love. Your business must be backed by great technology, and you must have a personal touch. That’s the best way to make a difference to other people’s lives.”
Getting ready for 30 June
When it comes to preparation for the end of the tax year, Adarsh says much of the work is automated through the business’s CRM.
“We set up our clients to receive automatic reminders. Some clients come to us annually to do their tax returns. Others will be ongoing clients for whom we look after bookkeeping, payroll and accounting advisory work. Each client is automatically emailed about how they need to prepare for the end of the tax year depending on their category.”
The email lets them know about the information they need to upload into Accounting CRM and
QuickBooks Online. Adarsh and his team receive an email when they have completed all the steps they need to take. Clients are also automatically sent reminders if they don’t upload all their information by the due date. Then, once all the information is received, client work is automatically scheduled in the accounting CRM for end of financial year work.
Tax returns can then be automatically prepared using QuickBooks Tax powered by LodgeiT which is tax compliance and preparation software that connects to QuickBooks.
With clients’ tax accounting work now almost fully automated, Adarsh and his team can spend much more time providing advisory services to clients. It’s a win win for both sides in a world when time is money and money is time.
Learn more about how Intuit QuickBooks can help your practice succeed with QuickBooks Online Accountant.