How one Principa Member has added $115,000 to his firm’s revenue in less than a year

Nelson is a city of about 45,000 people located on the northern edge of the south island of New Zealand (by the way… if you haven’t been to Nelson it needs to be in your list of 100 places to visit before…)

Nelson’s socio-economic profile virtually maps the rest of New Zealand and for that matter, most of the communities in which our clients practice. It is neither extraordinarily wealthy nor is it extraordinarily poor. It’s a perfectly ‘typical’ community.

And as is typical of communities like Nelson, it hosts many different types of businesses, the vast majority of which are small owner operated entities.

One of our clients, Bowley Consulting, operates in Nelson and has a success story that’s worth talking about.

The team at Bowley Consulting has generated additional annualized fees of $115,000 from implementing a Business DashBoard program from 11 clients with 6 more ready to start. The target for 2008 will be to have 25 clients being enrolled in the DashBoard program.

That represents a run rate of $180,000 per year not counting additional work that will inevitably come from the regular contact.

We recently received an email from Cathie Bowley who is not a qualified accountant and who in the past has had limited involvement in the business. In her own words, she said “Bowley Consulting is booming and DashBoard has really taken off. I am really enjoying this new understanding I have of the business and Business Development etc – as you know I was only on the periphery a few years ago…”

Bob Bowley leads the management team at Bowley Consulting and has always strived to create value for his clients with first class service that goes beyond traditional compliance. But even he is astounded by how receptive business people are to looking at their business through the lens of a graphical DashBoard.


The nice thing about implementing the Business DashBoard system is that it’s a logical extension of what accountants traditionally do and as a result it’s familiar non-threatening territory. Not only that, because it is such a different and simple way to represent the “numbers” of a business your clients understand it and value it. Bingo! Winning combination.

To be able to instantly identify what’s happening in a business on a monthly basis and determine what needs to be done to achieve pre-determined targets is incredibly valuable. That feeling of “control” is what business owners crave.

I’m often told that business people tolerate such bad financial record-keeping that any attempt by us to “analyze” the numbers is a waste of time. This is a sad reflection on our ability to show clients the value of understanding the numbers but to be fair to ourselves, it’s a hard row to hoe when all we’ve had to work with are boring reports called Balance Sheets and P&L’s.

How much easier it is to get a client excited in a living, working management tool than in a couple of pages containing columns of numbers. The DashBoard system is a financial management tool. It is not a report. When business people see it they also see the value in the discipline of maintaining quality accounts.

Just as importantly, when business people work with an advisor using the DashBoard it is impossible for them not to also see the value created by their business advisor in getting them to think about their business at another level.

Opportunities for further coaching or analytical work (e.g. analysis of customer profitability) are inevitable.

These are the services that really do have a big bottom line impact and which get talked about by delighted clients. They are also the services that give us a great sense of professional accomplishment in the knowledge that we are in fact making a difference.

So what’s stopping you from following the lead given to us by Bowley Consulting today. Get your entire team involved (accounting and non-accounting staff alike) and plan on another $100k – $200k in DashBoard services in the coming year?

It’s a highly achievable challenge. It can be done. It IS being done. You don’t need qualified accountants to make it happen, you just need to make it happen.

and one more thing… don’t forget to check out the natural beauty of Nelson, New Zealand, you will receive a warm welcome if you visit…. Like the team at Bowley Consulting, it’s memorable.