In the beginning...
I began my business journey in 1995, while working full time for small accounting firms in Sydney. I drove around in my red Ford Telstar, doing people’s tax returns in their homes on weekends and in the evenings. Two years into the business, I bit the bullet and left the security of full-time employment for the bumpy, “joyful” ride of small business.
"We don’t lend money to female accountants". Pardon?
Initially, I tried to get a $15,000 unsecured business loan – but no bank would lend to me without security. In fact, one “big four” bank employee said the bank couldn’t risk lending unsecured business loans to “accountants like you”.
“Where are you going to find customers who will be happy to deal with a female accountant as the boss?” he asked.
No, I didn't tell him off – unfortunately! Coming from a Middle Eastern background, I was used to this condescending attitude. I’d heard countless similar comments from my own extended family and community: “Why do you need to go to university? You are going to get married and have a family eventually.”
In the end, I had to ask my parents to secure their home to get the business overdraft.
Smash that glass ceiling for me, sister
This was in 1997, when the glass ceiling was not only experienced in boardrooms – it was experienced by women in daily life: starting a business, getting a home loan, getting a promotion.
Businesswomen networks became big in the 1990s to support women who wanted to go into business. The number of women exiting the corporate world was astounding. The big four bank employee had no idea that as those women left the corporations to start their own businesses, they knocked on my door seeking accounting and tax advice! I was one of a handful of female accountants who smashed the 1990s private practice glass ceiling.
Business success is dependent on money intelligence. Say what?
As my business grew, I struggled. Doing the accounting and tax work was easy. It was the other stuff we all need to do to keep our businesses going that was hard: financial management, employees, client relationships, systems, computer breakdowns, and making mistakes with people I thought I could trust!
By the second year, I realised “you can’t afford to make a big business mistake”. It can cost you dearly, and it did with me. Luckily, my parents agreed to secure more of their home to increase the overdraft to $40,000. I worked 18-hour days to get the work done because I had no money to employ people. This business mistake set me back two years.
Lucky for me (again), I met an awesome client – the late Richard Vincent, CEO of World XChange. He became my business mentor and helped me get through this challenging time.
Money Intelligence is my passion and my gift to you
Twenty years and countless business challenges later (and motherhood!), I am grateful for my journey. It has made me the person I am now: resilient yet compassionate, disciplined yet adaptable, passionate yet discerning.
After fighting for my own success while supporting hundreds of clients to achieve theirs, I am convinced that what our society lacks is Money Intelligence®. Three years ago, I wrote down everything I know about money, finance and business. The result? My book, Money Intelligence® – Anchored in Values.
It took 20 years but I managed to secure my business and personal wealth. And in the coming weeks, I will show you how you can break free from your financial struggles. I will help you navigate this world of money so you can walk the path to business success and achieve the financial freedom you deserve.
Susan Wahhab —CPA, SMSF Specialist, Entrepreneur, Working Mum, Small Business Supporter— is Australia’s leading Financial Strategist and Money Mentor. Susan is the founder and managing director of Accounting and Financial Services firm Winner Partnership Pty Ltd
Susan is the author of the transformational and practical book Money Intelligence®. Susan is passionate about helping people achieve financial liberation. At the age of six, she witnessed how her money-savvy mum (whom she calls the money manager) joined forces with her dad (whom she refers to as the money maker) with their friend Eli (whom she calls the money mentor) to save the family business from bankruptcy and become financially free. Susan truly believes that people can become financially liberated by developing a healthy relationship with money. Buy the book in either printed copy or ebook and learn more about being money intelligent on shopify
Susan hosts her own podcast Money Intelligence for the Greater Good where she interviews inspiring and creative entrepreneurs to share their passion for business, their challenges and vision to make a difference and change the world. Subscribe to her podcast here and listen to her weekly interviews on iTunes