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Welcome to our blog for TALKING NUMBERS with Paul Jansz! In this episode, we share our conversation with Lielette Calleja, the Founder & Director at All That Counts, an award-winning cloud accounting firm. Lielette has also been appointed as the Chief Accounting Technician for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), as part of The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

All That Counts

All That Counts has been around for 17 years now. Lielette says she hasn’t had an employer for 17 years; however, every client is like an employer. She regards this as a recipe for their success – they treat all clients with respect.

Many people think All That Counts is a big business but in reality, it’s a small team focusing on attracting the right clients. They like to support and add value to those clients. They provide a comprehensive back-office accounting function and other services such as management reporting and board reporting. As a business analyst and financial controller, Lielette enjoys what they are doing.

IPA Group

Lielette was very glad to be part of IPA because she has always been a fan of the association. She loves it because IPA is one of only a few global professional bodies that offer a pathway for both accounting technicians and tax practitioners. She believes people in this profession need to work closely in the industry and work to everyone’s strengths in the interest of the business and the community.

Lielette’s role at IPA is to oversee the certified accounting technician framework that they are building. The other part is advocacy – representing IPA and representing the best agents.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Lielette addresses that 2020 was a tough year on so many different levels. She thinks 2020 was a tragic year, everyone went through the five stages of grief, denial, anger, anxiety, and depression, then 2021 is the year of acceptance, and we will come out of it the other end.

For her business, she wants to be more deliberate in her approach to the type of businesses and the type of people they can work with.

She also shares an inspiring story of a florist. When the third lockdown was announced on Valentine’s Day weekend, this florist had just stocked up with $120,000 worth of flowers for a big sale. He decided to bring three pallets of oranges, onions, and potatoes. Suddenly, he became an essential business that could stay open. After seeing this story on the news, Lielette thinks every business should try to think outside of the box and be resourceful when facing obstacles.

Public Speaking & Connection

Lielette is very open to present in conferences or go on a podcast because she thinks it’s an opportunity to impart knowledge, educate others on what she knows and share her stories. She takes every chance seriously and hopes her audience can take something away. She believes that public speaking is also an opportunity to validate one’s personal brand.

Lielette addresses that being visible is necessary for business growth, and leaders should position their business in a different framework to attract a different type of client. For people looking for more business or gigs, she suggests that instead of advertising what they do, they should identify a problem and give people some advice. That’s the best form of advertising. Businesses will resonate with you if you can target a particular problem. They can see that you’re the expert and will come to you, because they have identified that’s something they need in their business.

Lielette is grateful that she has some great people who guided her and helped her when she went out meeting people. She also mentioned overseas connections she gained from events such as QuickBooks Connect helped broaden her horizon. She thinks the connection is important, and using LinkedIn is a good way to start. Lielette suggests not just sitting back and waiting for things to happen; one has to get out there and make it happen.

Digital Transormation

Lielette thinks workflow management systems are great for businesses. Every business needs to have the tools in place that allow ‘liquid processes’ to ensure the business is delighting its customers at every interaction stage because digital transformation now is essential for customer experience and also critical for managing a business.

A Piece of Advice

Lielette points out that a lot of people are reading the financials wrong at the moment. For example, some businesses calculate Job Keeper as an income, but it is not a real profit. 2020 hit many businesses hard, but now we all have an opportunity to rewrite the rules about how we do business.

She suggests that you should give permission to yourself to do things differently. If you want to elicit a different outcome, change the rules. She says, remember that life challenges us when we stopped growing, so keep up with the changes.