Some of the best Accountants and Bookkeepers are extremely opinionated. They challenge the hell out of their clients and so I’ll put it very simply and this is just something I’ve heard just many, many times over: accountants and bookkeepers who go into a new prospect conversation going “I use this solution, and this solution and this solution and this is how much it’s going to cost you. Let me explain a little bit more”, but they’re no negotiation, if you see what I’m saying.
Now, they may choose to have the client walk away, but they don’t really compromise when it comes to those solutions, that they’ve really done the homework. They know better than the client does and so the most successful ones are not engaging in a conversation with a client about, “Well, no, but I bring this other general ledger. Can you work with them?” No, they just kind of go “No. I work with this one”, or “I work with these two. If you work with that one, you know what? I’ve got a great referral. Heather will gladly do business with you, but that’s just not business for me” so that’s number one.
Luis Sanchez, General Manager, Receipt Bank
Luis Sanchez, General Manager of Receipt Bank Australia joined me to talk about…
- Luis childhood in Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina, through to Harvard Business School and now in Sydney, where he enjoys the community role of a Nippers Age Manager at the local surf club.
- How Team Orange the Receipt Bank team are navigating the Covid 19 pandemic
- Common traits of successful modern accountants and bookkeepers
- The necessary pivots required when online accounting solutions roll out receipt scanning features
- Universal functionality that could be built into Receipt Bank help all small businesses – what do you think that could be?
- Technology tools Luis uses for business and pleasure – including Salesforce, Slack, Zoom, Netflix & Amazon and of course Receipt Bank.
Can you explain to our listeners what an Age Nippers Manager does?
Luis Sanchez: I love it. We’re delving right in. Well, let me just give you a tiny bit of background, Heather. I was born in Central America, lived in the U.S. for a long time, moved to Australia four years ago and I had no idea what nippers was, and so just a few years ago figured out the beautiful concept of a village of adults raising to be ocean safe and build a little competition and so what a Nippers Age Manager does … I’m my seven year old daughter Nippers Age Manager … basically keeps the nippers on track. I’ve got a group of 25 seven-year old girls, and basically we get them to do swimming, flags, surf and running in an hour.
Luis Sanchez: So we just structure those four activities around an hour, may make them sweat a little bit, make them do a little competition, make sure that they’ve got great sportsmanship going on and so it feels wonderful. I absolutely really look forward to every Sunday morning at Balmoral Beach, when the time is right.
Heather Smith: Fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure that will be something that a few listeners will go and Google to try and work out what you were doing because it does sound very exciting and it is lovely to … There’s a real institution around being in the surf club here in Australia and a lot of respect for people who do it and volunteer their time, so very importantly around that lifesaving device so we all thank the parents who teach their children to swim properly and that lifesaving aspect.
You were born in Guatemala. You lived in Mexico, in Argentina as a child and you didn’t speak a word of English until you turned 12, so what I’d like to know is what is some of your favourite food and drinks from those areas and what languages do you actually speak?
Luis Sanchez: Cool. I like that. So let’s start with the first one: favourite food and drink from those areas? Yeah, so Guatemala is … It’s relatively similar to Mexican food but there’s this wonderful dessert that includes basically fried plantains and sweet refried black beans inside. It’s called a Rellenitos de plátano, technically means like “a little stuffed one”. It’s a delicious dessert and then there’s just a bunch of other stuff I grew up. I ended up having basically black refried beans and tortillas with almost every single meal when I grew up, so not sure that it’s the healthiest ever but that’s how I grew up.
Luis Sanchez: We moved to Mexico when I was 12 and that’s where spice entered my life, Heather. The Mexicans love their spicy salsas and tacos, burritos, so I think my favourite from Mexico would be just a plain old taco with some delicious, maybe spicy guacamole salsa. I’m a fan. In Argentina, even though I have become a pescatarian in the last few years for health reasons, Argentina has the best beef and I know Australians love their beef and I’m very respectful of it, but in Argentina, we would go into just any random hole in the wall and just say “Yeah, we’ll have a beef”, beef steak and it was just incredible, so yeah, it’s great food all over the place and you know what?
Luis Sanchez: Argentines also have great Malbec, red wine, so highly recommend that.
What languages do you speak?
Luis Sanchez: I speak Spanish. I speak French. I speak English and some German. Learned a little bit of German in uni.
Heather Smith: That’s amazing. I think you’ll have everyone salivating over those food you mentioned, especially if they’re still listening during Covid and we’re all in lockdown in boredom. The only thing we can do is cook.
Luis Sanchez: I’d say you can’t go wrong with a margarita either. That’s my favourite Mexican drink.
Can you share with our listeners a bit about your background?
Luis Sanchez: Of course. I think you did a great job of just explaining how I grew up, it’s sort of all over Latin America and learning different types of Spanish, which is kind of fun. It’s actually realise how every country’s got their own dialects and own little ways of living. Moved to the U.S. for uni. I went to school at Harvard, sort of in the Boston area and absolutely fell in love with the U.S. as a … just a melting pot and a great place to learn, being surrounded by people who are very, very driven, and so ended up spending up four years in school, in uni, wanted to take on a really exciting job and moved to Wall Street so I worked for J.P. Morgan at 60 Wall Street, so it kind of literally … We get out of the subway and right into the mecca of everything financial markets.
Luis Sanchez: It was exciting for two years. It was a fast paced two years, I’ll tell you that, Heather, and so after two years, I realised “You know what? I can’t live like this for the rest of my life, so I’m going to do something else”, and that’s where I got started in start-ups.
Luis Sanchez: I moved to the other side of the country, to San Francisco and I worked for a couple of start-ups in those dot com ’99, 2000 days and learned that “Hey.” There’s a lot of money certainly at the time and if you’re in the right industry, in the right business, there’s a lot of money, but if you don’t have all the background as to how to put that money to work well, which back then, I didn’t, I didn’t feel like I was being totally fiduciarily responsible to those investors and so I made a mental note, “I’m going to go back to business school shortly”, and so that’s what I did.
Luis Sanchez: After four years, probably two years on Wall Street, two years in Silicon Valley, I went back to business school, so I went back to Harvard and found a passion for marketing. I’ve been doing marketing ever since and frankly, this at Receipt Bank is my first general manager job, so now I really look across the entire business with more of a focus on sales, so it’s been very fun, also living all over the world and finally moving from different parts of the U.S. to Sydney four years ago. It’s been a wonderful adventure.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. Quite a diverse adventure, so
Harvard University is based in Boston and I know that you’re a runner. Have you done the Boston Marathon?
Luis Sanchez: I did, Heather. Now, if you’re a really hard core runner, you won’t give me credit because I didn’t qualify for it. Having said that, about 40% …
Heather Smith: I would never have known.
Luis Sanchez: About 40% of people who run the Boston Marathon show up where it starts, which is … call it 40 kilometres away from Boston. You jump a fence and you’re in there, so that’s what I did. I just … I trained and I just made it happen. It was wonderful. It was very tiring but very fulfilling.
Heather Smith: So you didn’t have a bib on.
Luis Sanchez: I didn’t have a bib on, that’s correct.
Heather Smith: So you just jumped a fence?
Luis Sanchez: It’s all you got to do. You jump a fence, which by the way a lot of people do, and you go.
Heather Smith: Oh, my goodness. I had no idea.
Luis Sanchez: The crazy things that people will do to run a marathon.
You attended Harvard University and business school. Are there some memories of that time you can share with us?
Luis Sanchez: Of course. You know, the thing that blew me away right away about Harvard business school is everything happens in sections, is what they call them, right? So you walk into a room with 80 to 90 people and your first year, you learn everything with your section, so I was in section D, also labelled the Dark Side and so these people after a year, you’re taking every single class with them and you actually don’t even move seats other than once a year, so you get assigned a seat. You never move for the first half.
Luis Sanchez: For the second half of the year, you get assigned another seat and so you very much grow very close to these people. I’ll tell you the one thing that I’ll … couple things that I will never forget is, I found the people at Harvard business school are very socially adept and what I mean by that is not only are they kind of clever, but they’re obviously by that point even doing pretty well in their careers so its very, very easy to get to know them and really easy to have social interactions.
Luis Sanchez: But the thing that I didn’t expect was that very close to me, there was a priest that literally, Father Tom was sent by Notre Dame, one of the Holy Cross unis, to basically grow as an administrative leader that was going to help grow Notre Dame and other schools like it for the rest of his career, so here we have a priest with an amazing way of thinking about business that’s very different than the rest of us, and in the middle of that year, one of our classmates got very sick, so we had these amazing interactions where I just remember this one day that I’ll never forget about Heather, we had a … We went into a chapel as an entire chapel and we prayed for our friend and our other friend, Tom, took us through that experience.
Luis Sanchez: It was so powerful that a few years later, Father Tom married my wife and I, so these are lifelong links.
Heather Smith: Oh, that’s wonderful. That is wonderful to hear that you obviously developed some lifelong relationships out of there. It does sound, on the outset looking in, like it would be a highly competitive, aggressive environment, but it sounds like your experience wasn’t necessarily that.
Luis Sanchez: Yes and you know, it’s a balance, because I would say certainly people want to do well and certainly people want to learn, but it’s probably a little bit more cooperative than you would’ve thought, going into it.
Can you share with our listeners what your current role is and what it involves?
Luis Sanchez: Of course, Heather. I’m the general manager for Receipt Bank in Asia Pacific, so what that means is I lead our team based out of Sydney, responsible for Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and what I love about my role is it sort of involves everything and what I mean by that is sometimes I’m helping in the marketing team. A huge part of our organisation is very sales focused so I work with our new business sales leader with our existing sales leader as well, with our customer success team and certainly with our HR function as well as our finance function, so I love the fact that now in my role, I get to see how when you pull one lever, how it affects the entire organisation and the fact that we’re a start-up and can move really, really quickly I find very, very empowering. Very different than other places where I worked before.
Can you share with our listeners some of your favourite features of Receipt Bank and maybe some of those features that they perhaps were unaware of that were in there, within the solution?
Luis Sanchez: Sure. So I’m going to assume, Heather, that maybe don’t know what Receipt Bank is, so let me start from the beginning and then we’ll build up.
Luis Sanchez: So Receipt Bank in a few words is a solution that helps you get high quality data into your general ledger. We integrate with whether it’s Xero or QuickBooks or MYOB. We integrate with all the key general ledgers in Australia and by the way, we have businesses in … our businesses in the U.K., in France, in South Africa, the U.S., Canada, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, so those are our main markets, so we enable small businesses and their advisors to send data of all sorts into our software and we extract all the data, so we are, in a few words, trying to get rid of manual data entry.
Luis Sanchez: So think of this way: one of my favourite parts of our solution is we have a grade mobile app and many people who use Receipt Bank, that’s the one thing they love the most is you give your client, as an advisor, you give them access to a mobile app and all they do is take pictures of receipts and invoices and we take all that stuff, magically rolls into Receipt Bank.
Luis Sanchez: We extract all the data through optical character recognition, a little bit of extra magic sauce and all that information rolls into Xero, or QuickBooks or MYOB with 99.7% accuracy which is much higher than you or I could ever do with our manual data entry, so people love the mobile app, 4.7 stars in the app store and when you ask most advisors and clients what they love the most, mobile app is it.
Luis Sanchez: Do you mind if I go into a little bit more detail, other key features that I would highly recommend? So if you’re an accountant or a bookkeeper, you then … You see all this wonderful data that’s coming in. What we love doing is helping build further efficiencies and what I mean by that is if you can connect your client’s file at Receipt Bank to their Xero file, as an example, and so we can match when one of the transactions come in, it matches with the bank feed.
Luis Sanchez: We have a little feature called Bank Match. We can then with one quick link click send everything straight into Xero, which is … All that stuff happens automatically, but the stuff that really takes it up a notch is when you set supply rules, so for example, when you get an invoice from Google, which by the way we can go and you give us some username and password, we automatically go and fetch it for you. If you tell us every single time it should get paid out of this account in Xero on this day, all that stuff then … We go fetch the invoice automatically from Google. It comes into Receipt Bank. It goes straight into Xero and all you have to do is one-click reconciliation, so really the efficiencies are massive if you set up Receipt Bank the right way.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for sharing that.
Luis Sanchez: Of course.
How is the business Receipt Bank navigating the Covid-19 pandemic?
Luis Sanchez: You know, there’s a few things going on. Number one, we’re very lucky in that we have a lot of remote working solutions already up and running in our business, so what I mean by that is, we’ve been using Sales Force for a long time, since they went on Receipt Bank 10 years ago. We’ve started using Slack a couple years ago and it’s a great collaboration tool that makes life easy. You and I are chatting over Zoom and Zoom is a solution that we’ve been using for a long time.
Luis Sanchez: My boss has always been out of the U.K., so I’m very used to this kind of interaction and Sales Force really enables us to keep track of how everyone does and what their activity is so frankly, from a day to day perspective, not massive changes, Heather. I think the biggest thing is I love human interaction. My team loves human interaction. We’re highly driven sales team and very young, high energy and so the closest thing to that is Monday morning meetings as a team, Friday afternoon meetings to celebrate how the week went and I’ve got all these faces on Zoom and that’s about as human interaction gets, so I struggle personally with that a little bit, just because I love giving people high fives, hearing bells when great things happen in the office and so that’s the biggest struggle. Otherwise, we’re set up the right way.
What’s something that you’ve learnt from working from home?
Luis Sanchez: That’s a great one. Well, I’ll give you a couple. Number one, you and I were chatting just a little while ago. I can use that commute time for something more productive and so I’ve been running more in the last month than I have in years, and so you know I love running. Thank you for bringing that up, and so now I go for a morning run. Literally, I think I’ve run 27 out of the last 28 days and I love it because it really gets my heart pumping early on in the day, feel a lot more productive and I sleep better, so I’ve sort of taken some time that maybe was not so productive and made it productive.
Luis Sanchez: I think the other thing I’ve learned is just how different my day to day is than my wife’s, so my wife works for PWC and she is sort of like an internal consultant, but when she gets going on a presentation, she can just put her head down and she just whips out these beautiful slides, but might just go heads down for like five hours without talking to anybody else because that’s part of her role, or she’ll jump on some conference calls and she’s chatting with some highfalutin people at PWC and it’s really … She’s got to be 100% on, right?
Luis Sanchez: I find that my job, because a lot of it is internal, working with our team, I can be a little bit more informal and I think the hardest part has been homeschooling the kids. I’ll tell you that thing. Heather, that’s … We’ve got a five and a seven year old and they both need some help and so it’s been passing the baton between my wife and I, even within during the day. That’s been the toughest balance.
Heather Smith: Yeah, that sounds … That has repeatedly been highlighted as quite a challenge, but it sounds like you have a highly productive work-from-home environment happening there.
Luis Sanchez: We try. We try.
Heather Smith: So I’ve actually heard in terms of what’s going on with the pandemic, which is going on worldwide, that many accountants are saying they’re actually implementing Receipt Bank so they can actually get their new client … when they’re bringing on new clients, their data up to date so they can in fact apply for the relevant tax stimulus wherever it be, where in the world, so all of those governments tax stimulus packages have relied on having data up to date and that really has been the sweet spot of what Receipt Bank can provide people.
Luis Sanchez: That’s right, Heather. I’ve just been amazed at how … This is what happens, sometimes, right? It takes a pandemic for people to realise, “Okay. It’s time to change. It’s time to do those things I’ve been putting off for a while”, so I can tell you we’ve got many stories from the last few weeks where people are giving us a call back saying “Thank you for talking to me about a year ago. I’m not ready for Receipt Bank.” We’re like “Hey. I’m glad you’re seeing the light. Better late than never”, but yeah, there was even a time, right, where people are scared about receipts passing the virus, right, so hey, you don’t have to deal with that now. You can just give your clients the mobile app or enable them to get up and running and just send you stuff. It’s so much easier that way.
Luis Sanchez: The number of partners I’ve talked to who are so grateful that they’ve had a solution like Receipt Bank has made their last few months so much easier than it would’ve been otherwise.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely and look, I’ve been sort of connected with the community for the last seven weeks and they are just so overwhelmed and for years, the media’s been telling us that the robots are going to take over, but in fact, when push came to shove, we were thankful that the robots, whatever they were, were actually doing the hard work, so doing the repetitive process data entry work, so we as humans could have the human conversations with the small business owners, and be as empathetic and in-front of them as we possibly could and really, many of us wouldn’t have been able to survive without the solutions in the background.
Luis Sanchez: You know, I think it’s interesting, Heather, how it’s almost like these last few seven, eight weeks have accelerated the future a little bit, and it’s made people realise it’s just the point that you’re making, which is yeah, the industry is going through a bit of a change, but the human factor only becomes more important.
Luis Sanchez: If you’re willing to take the chance and put yourself out there and be the face, as opposed to hide behind the screen, why not? Get in front of your clients. Let solutions like ours do the work in the background, but yeah. People want to do business with people they like.
Heather Smith: Yeah.
Luis Sanchez: So this is a huge opportunity to dial up the human factor and yeah, let the robots in the background do what they do best and you do what you do best.
Heather Smith: Yeah, absolutely and accountants have said to me “I didn’t realise how much I was actually hiding behind my screen and I actually enjoy dealing with my clients even though it was quite stressful. I actually enjoy doing that and I’m never going back to what I was doing before” and that’s really great to hear. I’ve been working like this for a long time but it’s great to hear people have been … As you said, the future has come faster than we anticipated.
Luis Sanchez: Yeah. I think there’s just one other thing that we’ve seen in our business over the last few months that I’m sure accountants are going to see and feel in their business too is it’s a lot harder to say no to a person when you see them, even on a screen, than if you’re just some anonymous voice that you can just be like “You know what? Let’s not do business together anymore because you’re just a voice”, but you know, if they get to know you and you build that report, all of which can happen, even through screens, it can really make a big difference for the retention of your clients and the retention of your business so yeah, all this is going to make accountant practices more profitable and I think help you realise where you really should be spending your time which is in front of your clients.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely, and enabling them to do more work with their clients and staying quite sticky with their clients.
Receipt Bank was one of the earliest solutions to connect to Xero. In those days, they even referred to it as the word an “add-on”, which I no longer use that term, but that was how close it was to the solutions. Many people associate Receipt Bank as being used with online accounting solutions, though over the last few years, many of those online accounting solution have built in or brought in some form of a receipt scanning tool. Where does that leave Receipt Bank?
Luis Sanchez: We’re very comfortable in the space we live in which is the way some of our really large partners … and I don’t think they’re going to mind me saying this. Deloitte is one of our big partners and we’ve been working with them for quite a few years and when they talked about what Receipt Bank was and the role we played for them, they talked about us being at the front of the bus and what that means is, when you get cost data in sort of way, for now … and we’re actually growing in our product roadmap further, but just imagine you get any receipts, invoices, credit notes, whatever it might be. They just wanted their accountants and bookkeepers to throw everything into Receipt Bank which is at the front of the bus. We get the high quality data and we then farm it off to Xero, QuickBooks or MYOB, so first and foremost, that continues to be a North star for us, which is “Just send us everything. We will make sense of it all and we’ll put it in the right spots for you”, number one.
Luis Sanchez: I think number two, I was just giving you a little bit of a sense for the efficiencies we can build in through the supplier rules, features, the mobile app, auto publish, the concept of again, getting everything into your general ledger at one click. The amount of efficiencies we’ve built into our product over the last 10 years, just with all due respect, none of the other solutions compare to, like by any sort of means, so we’re comfortable saying “Listen. If you want to save time, to truly experience efficiencies so that you can spend the rest of your time doing something a lot more productive, Receipt Bank is by far the best tool”, and so we will just continue to build on that, sort of product roadmap and grow the robustness of our platform.
Luis Sanchez: So we’re very comfortable with our business and competition makes everybody better and makes everybody sharper, Heather, so that’s helping influence our product roadmap going forward, too.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure it’s something that people in the industry are thinking about.
So it’s difficult to narrow down the statistics on the gig economy and I found some reports that one in four workers are part of the gig economy. Other say that 57 million people in the U.S.A. are participating in the gig economy. It does seem that there is an opportunity for Receipt Bank to grow out its feature set to be a comprehensive business recording solutions for those simple work, simple business structure workers working in the gig economy and I say this noting that Receipt Bank’s current CEO Adrian Blair comes from Just Eats which was very much a gig economy centred business. It would take minimal effort to rack up a solution like Receipt Bank for the gig economy and that market actually seems to be massive, in fact much larger than the small business market that the online accounting solutions are after. Is that something that you think potentially is on Receipt Bank’s roadmap?
Luis Sanchez: So I’ll tell you something that is a definite and then I’ll come back to that answer, that question with my answer. Number one is we’re very first and foremost focused on making the accountant and bookkeeper as productive and efficient as possible because we know that if we save you time, you’re going to get all your clients onto Receipt Bank whether they’re a small business, or sole trader, whatever it might be, right?
Luis Sanchez: So we wake up to build products and experiences for our accountants and bookkeepers, first and foremost. I think secondly, certainly we want to add value to the end clients, so to the end users, so we’re thinking a little bit about what other functionality could we create so that after you give your client the mobile app, they might get a little bit more value out of that mobile app, rather than just taking pictures and so think of it as our road mapping entails both of those areas, right?
Luis Sanchez: Building a lot more value for the accountants and bookkeepers, number one, but also building a little bit more value for the clients is something we’re considering because you know how this works, Heather. All of these platforms are network effects and the more interaction there is, and the more active you can be on the platform, the better for everybody and frankly, the better business for us, too, right, because you’re less likely to leave us because you see the value.
Luis Sanchez: So from a sole trader’s specific perspective which I think is where you’re going, we don’t have any specific plans for the short term, but we are thinking about though, is for all small businesses, what kind of functionality is universal that they would benefit from and we’re looking to build some of that into the product.
Heather Smith: Thank you. Thank you for that comprehensive answer.
Heather Smith: So Luis, you work with thousands of accountants and bookkeepers.
What are the skills or habits of successful, modern accountants and bookkeepers that you see out there?
Luis Sanchez: All right. I’ll give you a couple of potentially controversial ones, but it’s what I see, you know and I’m not going to hide it.
Heather Smith: Absolutely.
Luis Sanchez: Some of the best ones are extremely opinionated. They challenge the hell out of their clients and so I’ll put it very simply and this is just something I’ve heard just many, many times over: accountants and bookkeepers who go into a new prospect conversation going “I use this solution, and this solution and this solution and this is how much it’s going to cost you. Let me explain a little bit more”, but they’re no negotiation, if you see what I’m saying.
Luis Sanchez: Now, they may choose to have the client walk away, but they don’t really compromise when it comes to those solutions, that they’ve really done the homework. They know better than the client does and so the most successful ones are not engaging in a conversation with a client about, “Well, no, but I bring this other general ledger. Can you work with them?” No, they just kind of go “No. I work with this one”, or “I work with these two. If you work with that one, you know what? I’ve got a great referral. Heather will gladly do business with you, but that’s just not business for me” so that’s number one.
Luis Sanchez: I think it’s been a bit of a surprise to me, but over the years, that’s become crystal clear. I think number two, again maybe a little controversial, the really successful ones that have a long term foundation for success, they don’t pay attention to every single penny and what I mean by that is they look at the big picture. They think about “What are the solutions I should really weave into my practice, and that are really going to help me set the foundation, that are going to help me save time, that are going to help me be really productive”, so they’re not thinking about the “How can I ask for a five cent break from every single supplier to get the most?”
Luis Sanchez: They do the homework. They work on the business, not in the business and then they go out and get business, right? They focus on getting new clients and sometimes, when they do such a good job, the clients just come to them, right, so word of mouth is the biggest way in which people get their business, if they’re really good at what they do.
Luis Sanchez: I think the final one, again which maybe isn’t controversial, but they’re very comfortable referring business to others. There’s very much this giving back phenomenon or this comfort with “This is what I do really well and this is where my sandbox ends, and by the way, Lielette here does a great and much better job than I do on this and Stuart over here does a much better job and here are their numbers”, and sharing is much more widespread than I ever thought it would be and I think it makes for a very healthy profession.
Heather Smith: Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree with that and I do like the … I know that you started off by saying that the person was opinionated, but it is a simplified business model if I only take on people who use these particular solutions, and learning to say no is always a sign of maturity of the business.
Luis Sanchez: That’s right and it’s a simplified business model, but one that really helps you scale as you look to grow, if you’re interested in growth. Simple is good and simple is repeatable and again, I’ve just found also the very successful accountants and bookkeepers then find a way to really use their time very efficiently and have wonderful lives outside of work. They’re not working 24/7, which a lot of the industry is and then you get yourself into trouble with mental health and just other … Like the stress is just overwhelming so you’ve got to be able to compartmentalise.
Heather Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s one of the … When you learn to write For Dummies, you go through a process of learning to write for For Dummies and their policy is you recommend one way and only one way, even there’s six, even if there’s 10, whatever that route is, whatever that process is and if they want to find something else, that’s fine, but you recommend one solution there.
So over the last year, Luis, you’ve presented on hundreds of webinars. What tips do you have for those out there starting to deliver their own webinars now that they’re working remotely?
Luis Sanchez: That’s nice. Sounds like a little bit of a compliment so I’ll take it. Thank you, Heather. I actually really enjoy just speaking and sharing a little bit of what I’ve learned. Maybe a simple one: you know this one very well, Heather, but there’s nothing wrong with being animated and what I mean by that is using your hands, opening your eyes. Some of this stuff is second nature to a Latin person like me, so I’ve got a little bit of a competitive advantage just built in which I’ll gladly take.
Luis Sanchez: I think in webinars, if you’ve got a monotone voice, and you’re just doing this and I could speak for 10 minutes without moving, it can get … It’s pretty tough, so number one, be animated. There’s nothing wrong with it. Bring your personality.
Luis Sanchez: I think number two, very specific examples: bringing in people or specific cases that make your point. Really stick with people as opposed to just making blanket statements without a specific deep dive gets you in trouble or just makes your statements more forgettable. I have found that I enjoy webinars I do with others a lot more than the ones that I do on my own. Do you see what I’m saying?
Luis Sanchez: Just a few days ago, I was doing a “Four strategies to price your accounting services” webinar and it was a little bit of a “Here are four strategies that you can learn from”, but it was all me, and so I found it tougher to stay engaging and to be really exciting, but just the other day, I recorded a webinar with two practitioners who had wonderful things to say and we were able to get a conversation going.
Luis Sanchez: Some of the conversation goes a little bit off script which is great because it adds that level of spontaneity, and so I found myself a lot more engaged and I believe that will be a lot more engaging to your webinar attendees, so I think that maybe the litmus test at the end of the day is if you feel engaged, you’re probably more engaging.
Heather Smith: Very good. If you feel engaged, you’re more engaging. Very good. Thank you for sharing that. So you have mentioned a lot of technology tools.
Are there any other technology tools you’d like to share with our listeners that you personally like using either at work or personally?
Luis Sanchez: Yes. Great ones. So we talked about Receipt Bank. We talked about Slack. We talk about Zoom. Our girls love using SnapChat and that’s just a personal one, so we don’t necessarily …
Heather Smith: You are looking at me, via a SnapChat filter.
Luis Sanchez: Am I?
Heather Smith: Yeah. I put a … that softens my skin tone.
Luis Sanchez: Oh, how cool is that? Really? Little did you know. They love it and so anything that makes our daughters laugh is fun by me. What others? Probably you’re not going to expect this one, but I recommend downloading your Covid Safe app. I’ve actually … I think it’s the right thing to do for our society and hopefully this gets us out of this mess faster, so do that. I can’t live without my Netflix nowadays. I know most of us can’t either, but I just absolutely love the fact that it recommends things that it kind of knows me a little better than …
Heather Smith: It uses big data to recommend what you should be watching.
Luis Sanchez: Yes. Yes, it does and it does quite well! I’m an Amazon fan and this is probably just a vestage of me having been in the U.S. for so long. It’s taken a little while longer to get going in Australia, but the recommendations from Amazon, too are uncanny, just incredibly on and a newsletter as a relatively still young parent that I highly recommend is Baby Centre, so Baby Centre is a news provider for kids, young kids.
Luis Sanchez: It knows based on you giving them the dates of your kids birthdays where they are in their development cycle so you learn some stuff about them that you maybe wouldn’t have seen coming otherwise, so a lot of stuff there, but I thought I’d just share a few.
Heather Smith: Thank you very much. I’m sure some people will take you up on that and will feel less guilty for watching Netflix and Amazon, now that you’ve recommended it.
Luis Sanchez: Yes, please.
What’s next for you?
Luis Sanchez: Ooh. What’s next for me? I tell you what. I love to learn, and so one of the things that I’ve really been thinking a lot about in the last seven weeks is how do you make the most of this time which is obviously a little bit different and might end up being a little bit of a bubble, but maybe it changes everything going forward and I’m a big fan of learning and reinventing yourself as much as you can, so a couple thoughts: what’s next for me is I realised personally that I have sold myself short on taking care of my health, right, so now, for the last month, I’ve been running. I feel better. Just overall, I just feel … and so what’s next for me is I’m going to sign myself up for a half marathon in the next few months, depending on when I’m actually able to run with some people, but at the very least, my daily runs are getting longer and so that’s going to become half marathon and probably the next six to 12 months, probably marathon in the next two years.
Luis Sanchez: I think I’m ready to do my third, so I did Boston. Two years later, I did Minneapolis in the U.S. I think I’m ready for my third marathon, Heather, so that’s next for me. I think the other thing that I’ve started to do, reinventing myself in my job is, I know marketing really well because that’s what I learned in business school. I know numbers from finance a little while ago, but now I’m in charge of a sales organisation and so I’m doing more sales, so I’m reaching out to key accounts and having more conversations and so I’m sort of growing my toolkit, which I really enjoy and I think my third one is I’m going to spend more time teaching French to my daughters.
Luis Sanchez: They seem to really enjoy it and so I’m just going to be a little bit more hands on with that specific … maths in French, tend to be my skillset. They love doing maths in French with me, so I’m just going to lean into that and then I think the final one is I look forward to my nippers-age manager, my next year when that comes. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, but I guess that’s what’s next for me.
Heather Smith: That’s wonderful. That all sounds quite admirable and French is such a lovely language to learn. Maybe you can start offering the first French language Nipper-Age group classes.
Luis Sanchez: Oh, wow! There you go.
Heather Smith: You might get …
Luis Sanchez: Why not?
Heather Smith: You might get more than you bargained for.
Luis Sanchez: That’s right.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners and also how can they get in touch with you?
Luis Sanchez: Number one, you can always get in touch with me, email@example.com. I’m easy to find so you can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, whatever you’d like, but firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the easiest way to find me.
Luis Sanchez: A couple of things: I would just say, like I’m getting a chance to reinvent myself, I think it’s a great chance for all of us to reinvent ourselves, so just think about those things that you’ve been putting off for a while. I highly recommend just take some baby steps towards them, so I’ve just been amazed by people who are still holding on to desktop software until recently, or no software whatsoever. Take some steps.
Luis Sanchez: I would say if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably a little bit more forward thinking already, but push yourself to get out there and find … test out other solutions that will help you take your practice where you need to go eventually, so I think the specific story that comes to mind, Heather, as you were asking me to think about what do I want to leave people with, I just heard a story about one of our partners, [Rebecca 00:41:21] who joined Receipt Bank about three years ago.
Luis Sanchez: She knew that she wanted to go to London for about six months and so she wanted to create her practice in such a way that she could run it from London for six months, so she signed up for Receipt Bank. A few months later, she went to London and ended up spending a year and a half in London and just came back. Ran her practice exactly the way she expected. Everything went great and she’s now hired four more staff, so she took that opportunity to really think about the future. Had a goal and it’s changed everything for her.
Luis Sanchez: Think about what is that Rebecca story for you? What do you want to do a year or two down the line? Why not start taking some of those baby steps now and so one of those could be signing up for Receipt Bank. It could be signing up for Slack for your team. It could be how do you become a great webinar presenter? Just get a little bit more practice. Whatever that may be, take a chance right now because it’s a perfect chance.
Luis Sanchez: It’s a perfect sort of window of time to take some chances because what’s the worst that can happen? People say no or it doesn’t go great? Everybody’s taking chances right now and if that’s what keeps you engaged and keeps you going, take a chance on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Heather Smith: Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s a lot of life bucket lists being written at the moment and I think coming out of this, a lot of people will push themselves to travel a lot more and understanding they can actually do that and stay overseas while actually earning a decent income and that is actually a reality for them it’s important to appreciate and they can set themselves up to do that completely, now.
Luis Sanchez: Yeah, and for me, I think the only other thing that’s interesting is, WFH, Work From Home will never be the same. People will never think about it the same way, and so I assume that many people are going to say “Work from home should be a non-negotiable like I should be able to do it anytime that I want”, right, and so that has implications for potentially your business model, our business model, how we recruit talent. Just think about how that applies to you and your business because it could really change some basic assumptions you may have made about the real estate you need or the kind of people you want to employ, so just think about how that could really affect your business now and in the future.
Heather Smith: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining me on the Cloud Stories podcast. I’m sure our listeners will have really benefited and enjoyed listening to you here today.
Luis Sanchez: I really appreciate it, Heather. Thanks for having me.