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In this episode, Jeremy Harris, co-founder of Grow CFO, shares with us what he does, how he changed and adapted his business in this difficult time, and his knowledge on the strategies business should put into place.

Jeremy has more than 20 years experience in the financial industry. The company is co-founded with his wife Deborah, and aims to educate cutting edge business owners and their teams on finance so that they can actually leverage and grow and make their biggest impact.

In this episode:

  • Who Jeremy is and what he does.
  • Jeremy co-founded Grow CFO Co. with his wife, Deborah, and is currently its Lead Chief Financial Officer.
  • He was a co-owner of a tax accounting business for 20 years.
  • “I was able to make a transition into what for me was more fulfilling – to actually use numbers to help businesses look forward and to grow; to actually help, especially fast-growth businesses, to really understand cash flow and to plan what their future looks like and to predict the future.”
  • “In a tax accounting business, it’s actually fairly easy to maintain because everybody has to come back every year and do their tax returns. As long as the customer service is good, then there’s almost a guarantee of return business.”
  • “A number of our business customers are in different parts of the world, so we’re very regularly on Zoom meetings. So in that sense, even in the last period of recent period of time through Covid, it has not had a big impact on the way that we actually work.”
  • What would have been the biggest challenge in the business since Covid-19?
  • These two industries, tourism and events, have been really severely impacted by Covid-19.
  • “These businesses have had an immediate impact on their cash, which impacted their ability to pay us. But at the same time, they needed us more than ever.”
  • “We are servicing our existing customers more than ever in providing unprecedented value. We’re also now experiencing a level of growth that we haven’t had before.”
  • What’s different that Jeremy does now from what he was doing before as an accountant?
  • Wealth Dynamics: A profiling tool that helps us identify our main strengths 
  • “The details have to be right. The numbers have to be accurate to be able to know how the business is going and to make decisions based on those numbers. So that’s definitely one part of what the CFO does.”
  • “The premise of founding Grow CFO was to be able to provide access to that (needed) resource for businesses at a fraction of the price of having somebody do it full time.”
  • What strategies should any organisation put into place especially in these difficult times?
  • Triage the business –  Identify how the business has been impacted, if they have been, by the Covid situation.
  • The 3 Aspects of the Pivot Plan – Revenue, Trimming Costs, and Government Funding/Support
  • When it comes to government grants and funding, what does Jeremy recommend for our audience to do straight away?
  • The first steps for these government grants are to identify state-level assistance that’s available. Check eligibility requirements at the timing of when the eligibility might apply.
  • The 2 different kinds of the government’s support – Cashflow Boost and Job Keeper.
  • “One great thing has happened in South Australia. The South Australian government is offering up to $30,000 for registered training organisations to get their training online. But that’s not happening in all states.”
  • “I see the training industry changing forever and you will need this online learning model because people are going to expect it.”
  • For businesses with contractors, for example with businesses in the training industry that engage contractors, what does Jeremy think of the government grants for these businesses?
  • “A lot of contractors will actually be eligible for both of those programs, the Cashflow Boost and the Job Keeper, through their own businesses themselves.”
  • “Whenever things like this happen, the first thing the government will do is throw money into training, particularly when there’s high unemployment. We will be looking into that into the future with what government funding the training industry should be accessing for that.”
  • Another aspect a business owner should look at in this pandemic season is budget.
  • “A really important thing that comes off the back of the budget is a cash-flow forecast.”
  • “There’s a different type of cash-flow forecast, which is super important for just monitoring what’s going on, and seeing the ‘oxygen’ that is available, or any gaps that they’re going to come up in the next short period of time. And that’s to have a 13-week rolling cash-flow forecast.”
  • “It’s really important to recognise the difference between profit and cash flow because they could be two very different things.”
  • How do we work out 13-week cash flow in uncertain times like this? 
  • “Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cash flow is reality.”
  • Where does Jeremy think businesses will be in the next 6 to 12 months?
  • “I think the businesses that will thrive in the years to come are those who actually take the best out of what they’re doing through this period right now and make that a permanent change.”
  • “I much prefer the term physical distancing than social distancing. I think we’ve been more socially connected in the last six weeks than ever before. Yeah, definitely. I’ve never had so many Zoom calls.”
  • “So many businesses collectively have had to respond to changes very, very quickly. We don’t want to, and I think physically, can’t keep up the rhythm that we’ve had and maybe the hours that we’ve had to work for the last six weeks. But it has shown us what we are actually capable of as business owners and where we can improve efficiency without sacrificing connection.”
  • How does Jeremy keep motivated each day?
  • “I relate more to the word ‘inspired’ than ‘motivated’.” 
  • WIFLS = What I Feel Like Saying
  • Grow CFO Co. is a member of the B1G1 organisation.
  • “What we do when we provide quality education is we enable people to achieve and have confidence in themselves and excel in an area that they may never have even thought off before.”
  • “We are not about being the experts where business owners have to keep coming to and rely on us. We’re about educating edge cutting business owners and their teams on finance so that they can actually leverage and grow and make their biggest impact.”