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How Xero keeps this Shark swimming | The Beancounter

Posted 3 months ago in Advisors by Emma Izatt
Posted by Emma Izatt

You might know The Beancounter founder Marnus Broodryk from his appearances on M-Net’s Shark Tank South Africa — but you might not know how he got there. His Johannesburg based company is now one of South Africa’s premier small and medium sized enterprise (SME) accounting firms. But the road to success had humble beginnings.

“I founded The Beancounter nine years ago,” says Marnus, “but my entrepreneurial journey really started when I started cutting grass for my neighbours at the age of fourteen. From there, I never really lost my desire to forge my own path.”

Hence the Beancounter was founded in the same spirit. As a newly-qualified 22 year old accountant, Marnus was already frustrated with the occasional tedium of his chosen career. “Finding myself bored with the work, I wondered how a small business owner – someone with a bunch of balls in the air, no time to juggle them, and no budget for a full-time accountant – would cope with it,” he says.

The Beancounter exists to give this kind of entrepreneur the space to focus on their business. It’s not just about filing tax returns and taking care of the admin. The company is also there to give South Africa’s entrepreneurs the advice and service they need to grow and become more profitable.

Making a change

“I’ve always been a big believer in change,” Marnus says. “You can’t hold it back or contain it. You either accept it and move along with it, or let it leave you behind.”

Although The Beancounter’s clients were more than happy with their service, they were also frustrated with the relative inefficiency of traditional accounting and bookkeeping practices. For a long time it’s been a reactive, rather than proactive, profession. Businesses sometimes have to wait for essential financial information for weeks at a time. This holds up incoming and outgoing payments and causes considerable headaches for all involved. The day-to-day reality of accounting was stifling the Beancounter’s superior service. Plus, the company’s internal financial processes were also in need of an update.

However the status quo wasn’t cutting it for The Beancounter’s clients — or Marnus himself. “My business and my clients’ businesses were being held back by the antiquated processes of the accounting profession. It was time to make a change.”

Simpler, smarter, stronger accounting

The Beancounter started using Xero’s platform in 2013. The effects were immediate and unmistakable. “We’ve been experiencing the wonders of the digital age for some time now. If you want to send a message to a friend, there are tons of options. You fire it off on Twitter or WhatsApp. Additionally if you want to go somewhere quickly and inexpensively, you order an Uber. For the longest time, the same kind of accessibility and immediacy has been missing from accounting. Xero changes that.”

The Beancounter uses Xero’s automated invoicing, billing, reconciliation, and payroll tools for itself and its clients. These tools are available across multiple devices and across international borders. This modernises and streamlines the cumbersome, analogue process of financial management. They also integrate with a number of other accounting software products, making it easy to consolidate activities within the platform.

“At The Beancounter, Xero has really changed our lives. Our own internal processes are far simpler, and we’re adding tangible value to our clients,” Marnus comments. “I look forward to continuing this partnership into the future.”

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