By DAVEN ROBERTS
CEO and bottlewasher. This is how Sandy Needham C.A. described what it’s like to start your own business. “If you don’t do something about it, nobody’s gonna do anything about it. So, in the long run, you have got to decide what really is important,” said Sandy.
So, what is really important?
Sandy, a Scottish Chartered Accountant, has years of experience working for KPMG, PepsiCo, and Johnson and Johnson. With newfound knowledge under his belt, he stepped out on his own and started a consulting company, which installed accounting software for small and medium business. Sandy spent twenty years in the driver’s seat of this highly acclaimed company before merging with NetatWork Inc and, soon after, retiring. Amidst his experience in the industry, Sandy also served as President of CAW Network USA and has spent a lot of time involved with the organization.
With a wide variety of experience flooding his background, Sandy stands in a unique position, able to learn from every aspect of business he has been exposed to. He has found roots in the UK and in the US, for companies that most value profit and those that most value their people. He has been exposed to globally established business and startups working out of shared office space.
“I suppose the interesting part really is when you get into a business, and you see how it works,” Sandy explained when looking back on his career.
He acknowledges that his exposure to many companies, all truly working very differently, led him to build his own company and establish what he finds most important as a centric piece.
I think one of the things I liked looking back at two particular companies, is quality – quality shows. It’s not always easy to judge those things from the outside. The only way you really know, is to actually talk about it.
In his own company, he ensured quality via testing.
When you’re installing the third time it is good. The first time you make a mess of it, the second time you get most of it, and the third time you get all the little bits you didn’t get. When you’re doing something you’ve done before, you know how to do it quickly, quietly, peacefully, without disturbing other people or upsetting the horses,” claims Sandy. “It’s silly to go live on an important system without adequate testing. It just is foolish. So, it’s one of the most important things.
One may ask, and many do ask of Sandy, what else is important? As a now retired man living in the time of Covid-19, Sandy spent a portion of his 2021 free time pondering this question, specifically, in relation to accounting systems and, as he has learned from his own company, what to prioritize.
In fact, he has written it all down.
Sandy released his book this year entitled, Accounting’s Beating Heart: Tips and Tricks in Creating a New Accounting System. He presents this book as a message of common sense that allows people to apply the same logic and principles to growing and changing business needs. He enables his readers to “challenge the status quo” without stretching the basic logic. In his thought process, the principles of an accounting system stay consistent.
Many of the things in there [the book], I would feel almost obvious, almost just common sense. But with common sense things, none of it’s common sense to everybody” says Sandy. “It’s a good read through. I may well say on 50% of things, ‘Yeah, I know that, that’s what I’ve done.’ But I’ll bet there’s all sorts of things you wouldn’t have done. I mean, I think blindingly simple things.
His idea is that people often get caught up in the complex. With his book, he reminds professionals of the basics, which allows them to do the complex. He presents key tips and tricks which took him years of experience to hone down, but at face value are quite simple. Though simple, they hold vast amounts of value added for those just starting to test the waters of the industry.
In the final chapter of his book Sandy presents four main answers to the question, “What’s really important?” Be Bold. Think Forward. Listen to your Customer. Test it.
To read more about these four priority elements, and for access to all of Sandy’s valuable advice, you can find his book now on Amazon.
By compiling all of his best advice, Sandy hopes to help others navigate the most important aspects of “Accounting’s Beating Heart.”