The next graduate arrives, interviewing for a position at a small to medium-sized accounting firm: your accounting firm. This graduate will be one of the top performing employees for the employer of their choice. It takes you a while — nearly fifteen minutes into the interview, to fully realise that they are actually interviewing you.
Methodically, the graduate carefully crafts their answers and questions. When you look up from your notepad, direct eye contact takes a fraction of a second to re-connect: this graduate is absorbing the environment, the workspace and your body language. As you take notes, this graduate is also checking boxes on their own mental checklist: assessing you as a partner and the firm as a whole.
They don’t fit into your standard interview guide or assessment criteria: they are impressive in every aspect that a young aspiring graduate could be. They are energized and prepared to embark on a exciting career — just not with your firm.
A few years ago, one of my first business coaching sessions was with an entrepreneur who had spent a year and a half in development. He’d given up a well-paid job and spent about $25,000 on developing an App. He had no real business plan. When I pointed out that he had notionally invested about a quarter of million dollars on the App, he drew a deep breath of entrepreneurial fatigue, and said disheartenly, “Well, I suppose so.”
People depend on the CEO to get things right. A failure to manage your personal taxes may see you damage your reputation, send your startup belly up and let down all those people looking at you as an inspirational start-up CEO.
A chance to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a startup company can be one of the most exciting, challenging, inspiring, risky and adrenalin-filled periods of your life. Particularly for young innovators and entrepreneurs, the dynamic and fast paced environment can leave little time to reflect on your own tax position or obligations to any new employees.
A lot of great startups come undone by neglecting the mundane — but essential — regulatory or compliance functions. So while I would love to write an inspiring story of innovation and success, Why? Because you are the CEO and it is your job to get it right.