This article is a bit different to what we usually write. It’s not a legislative, technical or how-to-type article. We’ve written plenty of those and will continue to do so. Instead, this and the following articles in this series will be an honest, very personal account of what it feels like to have operated a business in the accounting and advisory space for the last ten years. At Precision, we always talk about not sugarcoating it and telling it like it is, so here we are. Happy ten years to us.

In January 2014, I felt like I had walked off a cliff. To be fair, I chose to step off, and if I’m being candid, after a decade of hindsight, it doesn’t feel like it was that big of a cliff, maybe a step off the curb.

But on the morning of 14th January 2014, it did. It felt like a bloody huge cliff. I woke up no longer an employee having quit my job of 15 years. There was no regular pay cheque, no suit and tie to wear, no clear structure for the days ahead and no office to go to.

Sure, it was all orchestrated and entirely my own doing. I had been thinking about starting my own accounting firm for a long time, with several family members having their own accounting firms, it seemed like a natural step that I would take at some point in my career. I have spoken to hundreds of people, professionals, tradies, consultants, retailers, and creatives who have done the same thing. I certainly wasn’t unique, but in those early days, it felt equal parts exciting and bizarre. Full of possibilities and opportunities, but at the same time, it is our instinct not to walk off cliffs.

As someone who grew up in the 1980s, I find the nostalgia of that time powerful. It is ever present all these years on. One memory that has stuck with me and, I guess, shaped my thinking as much as anything else is US President Ronald Reagan’s farewell address in January 1989. In it, he described his vision of a “shining city on a hill.” It was an optimistic view of a model of all that could be good and full of hope.

When I set out to start my business, this was the view I shared. I wanted to create a business that was a shining example of how things could or should be done. It was an opportunity to create something from scratch and avoid making the stupid mistakes I’ve seen in so many other businesses, boards and organisations, including ones I’d worked for. I wanted to make a change and create a legacy.

Celebrating ten years in business feels like a big deal. It’s a huge deal, especially considering that 45% of businesses don’t last five years. While I am fortunate to be here and be able to write this article today, it has not been without its challenges such as Covid, staffing nightmares, moving business premises and periods of extreme growth. Sometimes there are days when running a business feels like a total shit show. Fighting battles on multiple fronts, one bad thing after another. Even this week, there were internet outages and broken-down air conditioning.

I set out to do great things, help people, make a difference in the community and our industry, and make a better life for my family, clients and Team. In many ways, it is Mission accomplished. Together with our Team, we have done this and so much more. It’s gratifying to reflect on clients we’ve assisted for over twenty-five years and now have the privilege of helping their children navigate their financial journeys. It’s a testament to the trust and relationships we’ve built over the years.

At Precision, it is a Team effort. But make no mistake, Kelly Eke, who will be celebrating her ten-year anniversary with Precision in June has been my right hand since well before day one. We’ve worked together since May 2004 and while I walked off the cliff, there may have also been a gentle push.

The finish line, whatever that looks like, is a long way off, and there are fleeting periods from time to time where I’m convinced I suffer from Imposter Syndrome. As Tom Brady said, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far”.

Despite the hundreds of thousands of tasks completed, lodgements filed, a trophy cabinet full of awards and the many things we have achieved, the to-do list remains long; I know we haven’t always hit the mark, and that’s ok as well.

However, we have made it to ten years. We have come this far, and as we celebrate a decade of operation, I am filled with gratitude for the trust and support of our clients, the dedication of our team, and the partnerships that have kept the show on the road.

Looking ahead, I am excited about the possibilities that the future holds. I am committed to embracing change, whatever that looks like, pursuing excellence, and continuing to provide exceptional service to our clients.

Join us as we reflect on a decade of growth, resilience, and success. In the coming months, there will be more articles relating to my ten years in business. As a small business owner, I share a bond with the 2,500,000 other small businesses in Australia. I hope to inspire and share valuable insights that resonate with businesses and individuals alike.

As we move forward, I invite you to join me on this journey. Share your own experiences, challenges, and successes in the comments below. Let’s continue to inspire and learn from each other as we strive for our own shining cities on the hill.

Peter McCarthy

Share This