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Empowered by a diverse team of accounting professionals, Lachlan Grant saw an opportunity to take Vital Addition from a basic tax business to a market-leading financial enterprise, and ran with it.
Hi Lachlan, can you tell us how, and why you started Vital Addition?
Five years ago, Vital Addition was a basic tax business. I’d joined the company to develop its outsourced CFO offering, then when my partner moved on in 2016, I decided it was time to take Vital Addition to the next level.
The other partners and I decided we would move on from simply providing traditional accounting and tax support, to focusing on helping businesses really solve their financial problems, and understand their potential from a financial perspective.
We refined our brand to best reflect our expanded service offering, re-defined our mission, and haven’t looked back!
What was it about the market in Australia that led you to see an opportunity for something different?
There was a specific gap in the market for a professional yet relevant accounting firm that was servicing the startup and SME market, and business leaders, in Australia. In my previous roles as CFO of startups I’d managed everything from bookkeeping to board meetings, so knew first-hand how valuable it would be to have a firm that could plug in to a tailored “shared service” type model (either bookkeeping, management accounting, or CFO) depending on a client’s unique business needs at the time.
I realised that by running my own firm, and recruiting exceptional staff and building relationships with specialist professional partners, we could produce a superior finance function for clients for a fraction of the price of a full-time team.
How important have commercial partnerships been to Vital Addition?
The partnerships we’ve developed with other services firms, in particular, law firms, have been key to the business being able to grow, and continue taking on new clients. Our networks into the Venture Capital and overall “startup scene” have also been instrumental in us building up our brand and client base.
What is the one piece of feedback you consistently receive from clients?
“You always work to understand our business so much more than any other accountant.”
It’s always satisfying to hear this from clients. Relationship building, and taking the time to explore and understand all aspects of our clients’ businesses, is one of our missions. We pride ourselves on always striving to develop an in-depth, commercial understanding of a client’s business, which helps us relate to the emotional pressures that can (and do!) come from managing the finances in a startup or fast growing business.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are seeking to disrupt an industry, or launch a startup?
Where do I start?! These would be the three non-negotiable pieces of advice I’d give to someone considering going into business for themselves:
a) don’t go looking for funding from day one. As much as you can, fund the business yourself to have an opportunity to really test (and hopefully prove) whether or not your idea/concept/product is viable;
b) having business partners is like a marriage so choose them wisely;
c) make sure the people around you are people who you trust, are smarter than you, and can give you an honest assessment of your business every step of the way. There is no point being anything other than completely honest with your advisors.