I remember it as if it was yesterday:
I was 22 years old and was in the final year of doing my articles.
I was sitting in my small cubicle office and typed into Google: “what’s a good name for an accounting firm?”.
Yahoo Answers came up as the first result: The Beancounter.
That was the start of an incredible journey.
It was my dream to start my own accounting firm and use the lessons learned during my articles to disrupt the traditional business model and create a new type of accounting firm.
I wanted to create a firm where we would move away from hourly fees and create fixed monthly fees so that business owners can budget for it without nasty surprises, one where we would use technology to streamline repetitive processes and most importantly, one where we would turn accounting systems into business tools so that accounting services will actually add value for business owners and not merely be something to keep the taxman happy.
Fast forward 13 years, and The Beancounter has grown into an incredible company with incredible people, serving hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs. We’ve succeeded in disrupting the traditional accounting firm model and have been a leader in shaping the accounting industry as we know it today.
I’m very proud of how this baby grew up and what we were able to achieve over the last decade and a bit. Looking back over the last 13 years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with great people; we’ve had great partnerships with great companies, and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity I had to work with so many great entrepreneurs in so many different businesses.
2020 was a challenging year for The Beancounter and most of our small business clients, but I’m so proud of how we handled it as a team. We jumped in and went over and above for our clients, we submitted TERS returns, applied for extensions and did whatever we could to help – all without charging anything additional. At the end of the year, we grew stronger as a company, only 2% of our clients didn’t survive the pandemic, and more than 98% of our clients rated our service exceptional during this period.
Today, 12 May 2021, I know that The Beancounter is the strongest it has ever been. We’ve got an incredible team of partners, accountants and trainee accountants, our satisfaction ratings with our clients are the highest it has ever been, our terminations the lowest.
Even though I’m incredibly proud of where we are, I also know that this baby is now ready to take on another phase of its life. Over the last 18 months, I’ve supported the management team in running the company but very much on a part-time basis while we were looking for someone to take over from me as CEO of The Beancounter.
It was no easy task. I wanted to find someone who can join Marlize and Mariska to really take The Beancounter to the next level and disrupt the current status quo so that we can drive value for our clients in the same way we disrupted the industry a decade ago.
After many discussions and interviews, I finally found someone who I thought would be perfect for the role. His name is Waldo Oosthuizen.
I met Waldo back in 2018 and he has always shown great character and has been someone to count on. In March this year, we formalized a relationship and Waldo has been working alongside me and the management team over the last 2 months.
He has exceeded all expectations set and I have made the decision that he is the right person to take The Beancounter forward as my replacement in the CEO position. I will continue to be a non-executive director and chairman of the board, while Waldo, Mariska and Marlize will be in charge of operations.
Together with our partners, account managers and an incredible team of people, I know that Waldo will lead The Beancounter into a new phase of growth, disruption and will ensure that we remain the leading and most innovative accounting firm in South Africa.
This is the end of an incredible journey for me, and I want to thank everyone who has played a part in helping me to build this dream. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and I’m even more excited to see how The Beancounter will shape and grow with this new energy behind it.
The vision that I have for this company and that I’m leaving with Waldo and the team is the following:
The Beancounter is the leading and most innovative accounting firm in South Africa where our clients and employees feel like rockstars and we continue to rock the boat by doing really cool things*.
I have no doubt that they will deliver on this.
Thank you so much for an incredible journey! The 22-year old Marnus would never have been able to dream this up. Thank you.
Founder – The Beancounter
* I didn’t say “things”, but it sounded more appropriate here.