Business Stories Jun 15, 2017

At just 23 years of age, Ben Walker started his accounting firm Inspire CA armed with a laptop, a borrowed printer and one question: what if, instead of just doing tax and reporting on history, accountants could give game changing advice that could help people write a better future for their business and their family?

At the same time, Harvee Penne was an entrepreneur teaching accountants how to have a more meaningful impact in their clients’ lives.

Both young men were frustrated with the traditional accounting model and determined to find a better way to do business.

Little did the pair know when they first met, what an impact they were about to have on each other, on the lives of their clients and families and on communities across the world.

Ben and Harvee’s shared values and strong desire to turn accounting on its head has seen them showcased as a global example of how business can change lives.

Based in Brisbane, Australia, Inspire CA provides education and support to help young families use their small business to achieve big goals. Over the past five years, Inspire has become a disruptive force in the industry by throwing out ‘old school’ ways for a more personal and, as their name suggests an inspiring approach.

Not long after launching Inspire, Ben met Paul Dunn, Co-Founder, and Chairman of B1G1 (Buy1GIVE1) who was to become his mentor and forever change the way he did business. B1G1 is a platform that connects businesses that want to give, with global projects that need it most.

“Paul told a story that really stuck with me” recalled Ben. “He talked of people in developing countries who don’t have access to clean water.”

“I get cranky if I don’t get a coffee in the morning! I couldn’t imagine going without water for a whole day. It broke my heart. I thought if Inspire CA can help, then why not.”

An important goal for Inspire is to be a meaningful player in the ending of global poverty. Ben says B1G1 makes working towards that goal super easy.

“Soon after I joined B1G1, I was doing a training session for a client. I thought, how do I tie this to a giving project? I found one in India that trains Mums to run businesses. I thought, how cool! So while I was training one family in Australia, many families got access to training in India!”

Inspire runs a workshop called ‘Become a Cash Rich Business’ and as Harvee explained, their clients are really connected with the giving.

“When someone registers, we create an impact through B1G1 – a month’s worth of water for a family in Cambodia. We love to share that this happens so our clients and those considering becoming clients get an understanding that when they work with us, amazing things happen. We give each a certificate to let them know the impact that’s been made by coming to the workshop.

“One participant who was considering becoming a client posted hers on Facebook saying,

“Unreal. I no longer hate tax and accounts. Why? Because every time I do business with them, my accountants provide clean drinking water for a family in Cambodia? Wow!”

“Not only did she share it, but some of her friends shared it and we created this little mini movement based on just one giving impact. It was pretty special.”

To date, Inspire CA has made over 90,000 impacts, but that’s just the beginning. Last year the team set themselves a grand goal to save their clients $500,000 worth of tax in 12 weeks.

“We had no idea how we were going to do it,” laughed Ben, “It was a stretch, but we knew we’d learn along the way. Amazingly, we ended up saving our clients $1.26 million worth of tax.”

“What it also did” added Harvee, “Was give us confidence, not just to achieve a great outcome for our clients, but to aim for big goals.”

“This year we’re doing something even bigger. We have the same campaign, but the goal is to save our clients $1 million in tax in the three months leading up to June 30. On top of that we’ve set another huge goal called ‘Give 1 Million Days.’

Ben explained “We’re giving one million days’ worth of access to life-changing water through a B1G1 project in Malawi. We’ve integrated giving into everything we do throughout the year – the emails we send, our AGM and planning sessions and meetings we have with prospects, clients and suppliers. Every time we do one of those activities, it means more water for Malawi.”

As Harvee pointed out, it’s more than just a business goal this time.

“The outcome will be life-changing for people in Malawi.”

“Ben and I are going over there to meet some of the families who are receiving benefit from the wells that are being built. We’ve given them our word that we will provide one million days of water. It puts the accountability back on us and our team. It’s exciting, it’s audacious and it gets us out of bed in the morning to continue contributing to the wellbeing of our clients and the world.”

Arcadia Love

Arcadia is a B1G1 partner from way back. She enjoys sharing stories that shine light on people and projects helping the world become a more fair and joyful place.

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