Hannes de Beer, Owner of HNJ Financial Solutions explains how his business was established as a firm to provide accounting, payroll, tax and business advisory solutions to individuals, small businesses (SME’s) and companies. His company is based in Cape Town, but their client reach is country wide, with their niche market being remote solutions in the digital era.
He says, “We see ourselves as a one stop shop for the modern man. One place where you can find all the support and answers you need. From the person looking to register a company and enter the entrepreneurial world, to established companies who manage funds exceeding R10m, to the guy earning a salary and needing assistance with tax compliance and tax submissions for the South African Revenue Service (SARS) .”
At HNJ Financial Solutions they say that they work at promoting solutions. Their solutions are aimed at the daily problems people are faced with. For example: Due to the many limitations imposed on people during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, they started offering full remote accounting solutions to their SME clients, where both parties could have access to financial data and minimal face-to-face interaction while still having 100% satisfaction and results. This helped free business owners of these worries so that they could attend to their companies and make money. HNJ Financial Solutions’ national client base for individual tax clients is similarly, also managed remotely.
Hannes’ business started off as an after-hours hobby, to make extra money to get through every month, but it has grown into an organisation providing employment and growth to employees. He registered HNJ Financial Solutions Inc. in July 2015 and started trading during 2017.
Hannes lost his job as Finance Director during 2015/2016 and needed to find a solution to survive monthly. He found that by starting off with very little disposable income for marketing, he became dependent on word of mouth and work ethic, while personal relationships also played an integral part in the growth of the company. He endlessly tried to promote his company to become independent and sustainable.
He says that he came home every day from his job and found himself in his study, working on HNJ Financial Solutions again – be it clients, advertising, the website, marketing etc. He shares how starting it, growing it and ultimately sustaining it, takes constant devotion of his time, compromise and in a many cases, his own money.
That being said, he says that it has only been in the last year (since the COVID-19 pandemic) that he started to focus on growing the firm into more than just a hobby, but into a sustainable and reputable tax, accounting and auditing firm that operates daily – serving more than just taxpayers looking for SARS assistance.
Their current team compliment consists of a permanent team of two people with an additional two support staff on contract, which helps them ensure that they meet deadlines for their clients. They have also established meaningful professional relationships with other accounting firms in their area, supporting each other’s respective shortcomings and collaborating on various projects.
What Hannes loves most about running his business is the ever evolving technology, constant learning and passion he has towards building his own brand, his name and his legacy. He says that the opportunity this business created within his family, to spend more time together, has resulted in a total paradox. While allowing them the freedom they required from their monotonous daily lives, they still find themselves stuck in the study at 23:00, attending to financial reports or client queries. At the end of the day, they feel humbled and blessed by this experience which in itself has gifted them with the luxury of time, knowledge and financial freedom.
One of the biggest lessons Hannes has learnt on his business journey is that even though they pride themselves in building old-fashioned and traditional business relationships with their clients, human interaction is no longer as much of a necessity in today’s era. They do however pride themselves in building personal relationships, allowing for the human factor to play a big part in their liaisons with clients and paving the way forward for contract continuance and client retention.
Hannes says that word of mouth and referrals are one of the best ways to acquire new business. He explains how it’s essential to uphold one’s ethical values and mutual respect for clients in order for word to spread about the fantastic and efficient services that one is able to deliver. He has found this approach to be the best marketing tool by far, in ensuring the future growth of one’s company.
One of the biggest challenges Hannes is facing is that he is still working full-time and is managing his firm on the side. He says that this makes it logistically challenging to arrange meetings with clients and to have a balanced lifestyle. He dreams of one day running his business full-time.
He has read many articles and has found that many start-ups fail within the first 3 years, with disposable income, time constraints, manpower and knowledge all being key factors for growth towards sustainability and independence. In 2019 he felt like throwing in the towel, but his persistence and desire to be his own boss was too deeply instilled in him.
Hannes says that when the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic came over South Africa last year, many, including his life partner lost jobs and were forced to work for reduced salaries and so forth. He thinks that this was the rocket fuel that got us all to where we are today and it became a turning point when every person grasped, “that anything can now be done remotely, online and through the cloud.”
Since the start of April 2020, HNJ Financial Solutions have signed up numerous clients to their cloud accounting pool and have taken on various auditing and tax engagements. They are now a self-sustainable accounting and tax firm, in the growing phase of their exciting journey.
Hannes believes that South Africa should support local and small businesses. He says that by doing so we’ll be keeping our economy alive but even more so, we’ll be creating work opportunities for the masses that have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
HNJ Financial Solutions is a proud Premier Member of the NSBC. When their Owner, Hannes de Beer was asked about his experience as a member he shared how the NSBC provides useful links, webinars and business networking opportunities to assist every organization subscribing – to grow in some kind of way. He believes that the information distributed is relevant to small businesses and their struggles, while providing ways to improve one’s personal and organizational skills. He appreciates that the achievements of other people and organizations are showcased (honouring outstanding performances) and is also grateful for the innovations and efforts made by the NSBC in assisting small businesses to grow and achieve greatness.