A few weeks before my 25th birthday, I received my tax agent licence. I was ecstatic. It had been my dream to establish my own financial services practice, and it was about to become a reality.
Within one month of getting my licence, I hit the road, driving around Sydney in my red Ford Telstar to complete people's tax returns. I was still working full-time for small accounting firms and the NSW Auditor’s General office as an auditor and forensic accountant, so I spent my evenings and weekends building my business. It took two-and-a-half years of unwavering dedication and hard work before I could jump into my business full time.
However, the business required more capital. I approached a couple of “big four banks” for a business loan, but none would lend me money without security. In fact, one bank employee told me they couldn’t risk lending unsecured business loans to “accountants like you”.
This was in 1997, when the glass ceiling not only existed in corporate boardrooms, it existed for women everywhere: when starting a business, getting a home loan, fighting for a promotion, going on maternity leave, and losing responsibility when coming back to work.
In the face of constant chauvinism, I had no option but to secure the $15,000 overdraft using the home of my hard-working parents, Victor and Souad Wahhab. All my amazing parents wanted was for me to forge my place in the world, to succeed and fulfil my potential. And with their help, I did.
Money Intelligence Book
Money Intelligence Academy
When I started the business, I couldn’t afford to employ anyone. So, I asked my sister Wendy to help me while she was at home looking after her baby, Janette. In the early years, Wendy worked from home, processing tax returns and doing data entry. Twenty-four years later, she is now the practice manager and my business partner. My niece, Janette, who is now 24, also works in the business, doing accounting and marketing. When Mum retired from her business and got bored at home, I suggested she come to the office for two days a week. At the age of 65, she learnt how to use a computer and draft letters. She now does our admin work while serving us fruit salad, homemade date biscuits and coffee.
We are a family business focused on empowering private business owners to secure their personal wealth by improving their business finances.
Our financial practice is now 24 years old. It has matured from a tax-preparation service to a full financial services business that provides accounting, financial education and mentoring.
Over the years, I have had thousands of conversations with people from all walks of life about money. I have a deep insight into the challenges they face as they strive to make and manage their money and businesses. I have also seen time and time again people struggling to secure their personal and business wealth. As such, I developed the concept of Money Intelligence®. It is my strong belief that people must develop a Money Intelligent® mindset to truly thrive.
In August 2014, I wrote down everything I knew about money, finance and business to create my transformational book, Money Intelligence® – Anchored in Values. This liberating book is crucial for anyone who wants to grow their wealth sustainably, live the life they want to live and achieve financial independence. In 2016, I created a personal money course (Master Your Money) for people who want to get their personal finances in order. I also launched a business mentoring program (Profit Master) to help private business owners maximise their profits and increase their business financial literacy.
Susan Wahhab - CPA, SMSF Specialist, Money Mentor