How Carbon turned Diamond – Inside a Connected Partner Practice
What does it take to become an MYOB Diamond Partner? A relentless focus on offering services designed to help businesses succeed.
In 2014, Jamie Davison and Nathan Hood could tell which way the wind was blowing.
Emerging technology was proving both an opportunity and a threat – some saw doom and gloom but others saw automation’s potential to remove the burden of data entry.
Emerging tech was providing an opportunity to provide a more streamlined service to clients – meaning just playing in the compliance space wasn’t going to meet customers’ expectations.
Two years before MYOB outlined its Connected Practice vision, the pair set about taking their respective businesses on a journey to full service.
The first step was to merge an accounting firm with a bookkeeping firm to create a new kind of offering, headquartered in their new Perth-based offices.
A blueprint for success: Aligning business to client challenges
“The first move our founders made was to introduce company-wide divisions that addressed each element of Carbon Group’s new service offering,” said Carbon Group co-founder Jamie Davison.
“Initially, that meant the formation of business systems, finance and insurance divisions.”
It also meant unveiling a blueprint to expand from its home in Perth to the east coast and beyond, including plans to go international once the group has established hubs across Australia.
As it expanded, it bolted on more capability through strategic M&A action – recently announcing its 11th such arrangement since 2014 when it merged with Ellenbrook Tax and Accounting.
With a clear strategic roadmap in mind and the weight of M&A activity driving growth, it’s managed to grow from a team of 14 people in one location to a company of 86 staff across five offices.
Last year, it also added a business advisory string to its bow.
Davison says the business advisory division is led by a partner with experience in servicing a “reputable portfolio of international, listed, government and private clients”.
Alongside the recent addition of a new payroll and R&D division, the success of Carbon Group lies in its ability to service clients across a broad range of key offerings, reducing their need to work with other providers.
Embrace the network: CPE initiative generates further growth opportunities
Along with Carbon’s ongoing M&A and divisional strategy, the company also introduced a new, network-focused initiative in 2017: the Carbon Partner Empowerment (CPE) model.
The CPE model is designed to build out Carbon Group’s offering by attracting the best talent available in up-and-coming new partners.
“Our aim for CPE is to attract ambitious professionals looking to start their own business within one of Carbon’s divisions (bookkeeping, accounting or financial planning), who have the reassurance and support of an established industry leader: Carbon Group,” said Davison.
The idea is to offer new partners a platform with which they can grow their own startup, or fast-track their pathway to partnership, by leveraging the Carbon Group brand, its expertise and reputation in the industry.
These partners also gain access to the leads Carbon generates through its multichannel marketing program while also maintaining the autonomy to develop their own prospects.
“This model has facilitated accelerated growth which wouldn’t be possible under a traditional business model of employing further staff to manage our increasing number of leads and volume,” said Davison.
“Since the Partners have equity in the business, they have an entrepreneurial hunger to market themselves, network and exceed customer expectations, to grow their own portfolio.”
And the initiative seems to be having its intended result, with five new partners joining Carbon since the launch of CPE who have collectively generated $950,000 in annualised revenue.
Hard work pays off with elevation to MYOB Diamond Partner
MYOB’s tiered Partner Program offers accountants and bookkeepers a way to access invaluable value-added services in training and education, marketing, and networking.
In recognition of its heady growth resulting in hundreds of clients referred to MYOB solutions, the online accounting software company has recognised Carbon Group by raising it to the highest tier in the Partner Program: Diamond Partner.
“Our team is very excited by this announcement, as there are only a handful of MYOB Diamond Partners,” said Davison.
“It cements our ability to work with businesses of all sizes – not just SMEs – as some other software providers are only aimed at the smaller end of the market.
“This new partner status will help us reach new markets and new clients, which in turn allows us to give more back to the community through our schedule of donations and charitable activities.”