“I saw this massive opportunity of big businesses and small businesses operating in exactly the same way. There was this instant excitement of being able to have a conversation with someone, see them act on it, and then see the magic results of it. Then, I realised that I had to get out of the uncontrollable corporate world and take control of life myself. That was the start of FD Works back in 2012. Running my own business has given me the control to experiment and explore different ideas”.

Jonathan Gaunt, co-founder of Socket Digital.

Today, I’m speaking with Jonathan Gaunt, co-founder of Socket Digital, Xavier Analytics and FD Works. Jonathan discusses his career journey from corporate accounting to founding multiple businesses. We discuss tips for using LinkedIn as he is on a mission to grow his LinkedIn presence to connect and brand himself. Gaunt also details developing new proposal software to help accountants by identifying client needs and innovating workflows.

In this episode, we talk about . . .

  • Jonathan’s transition from corporate accounting to entrepreneurship, embracing new opportunities and control over his career.
  • Insights from working with Dragon’s Den investor Richard Farleigh, focusing on solutions over limitations.
  • Practical tips for enhancing your LinkedIn profile to attract more followers and connections with engaging content.
  • The importance of storytelling with numbers and identifying the pivotal “clunk moment” in business.
  • The role of co-founding Xavier Analytics in improving data quality and introducing new workflow automation tools.
  • Reflections on selling a business and fostering innovation within larger organisations.
  • Development of innovative proposal software for accountants, driven by needs identification and process innovation.
  • Advice for entrepreneurs: be courageous, focus on controllables, and enjoy the entrepreneurial journey.

This episode is kindly sponsored by

Fathom: All-in-one reporting, analysis & forecasting

Explore the highlights of this interview:

On business growth, entrepreneurship, and networking

  • Jonathan is a chartered management accountant and has wide experience in the corporate world.
  • His curiosity and restlessness led him to leave his job at a large bank to pursue his own ventures, experimenting and exploring different ideas.

How to avoid Doom scrolling on LinkedIn and strategies for profile optimisation

  • Jonathan uses LinkedIn to interact while gaining more followers and connections by being authentic and writing engaging content that makes him laugh.
  • Heather shares her advice on LinkedIn and her successful experience of using social media to connect with others and meet up with other professionals.

Management accounting with a focus on storytelling

  • Jonathan pursued management accounting because he felt as though there was a big divide between compliance and a more forward-thinking reality in the industry by creating a bridge between them.
  • People-watching and mentoring helped Jonathan push himself out of his comfort zone, lead, and understand people better.
  • About having human-centred conversations with customers and telling stories to help business growth.

About career transition and working with a nice Dragon from Dragons’ Den

  • Curiosity also led Jonathan to work as a creative accountant with Richard Farleigh by advising him to look at investments from a completely different perspective.
  • At the same time, he started to feel frustrated with corporate career progression and recruiters, leading them to explore other options.
  • Then, he took the initiative and started his own business, FD Works.
  • FD stands for Finance Department. Originally, it was Finance Director, but you can only tell a story with good-quality data.

What’s going on with inaccurate data and workflow automation in accounting?

  • Jonathan’s clients, who were software engineers, discovered a discrepancy in data accuracy, leading to the co-founding of Xavier Analytics to provide more precise data analysis.
  • He presents how tidying up data quality issues in accounting workflows led his team to create new workflows and introduce orders through “flows.”

Reflecting on the power of innovation and his Dext’s Labs experience

  • Jonathan reflects on their experience at Dext, mentioning the excitement of building something and gaining superpowers.
  • He acknowledges he learned a lot and delivered what was needed, but he also realised they couldn’t innovate at the speed they wanted in a bigger business environment.

About Socket Digital, practice management tools and proposal software development

  • Jonathan talks about improving resource allocation and proposal management by taking control of proposal data.
  • He is testing and developing a new tool for practice management and proposal software, building on their own experience in the field. You can join the waitlist at https://www.usesocket.com/.
  • The tool aims to solve problems by asking users about their current workflows and identifying areas for innovation to create a solution for the wider market.

Final thoughts on having an entrepreneurship mindset 

  • Jonathan encourages people to be curious. He emphasises the importance of being brave, focusing on what you can control, and having fun in business.

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