A true cultural fit
For Generate & True

Who: True, Sydney
Collaborators since: 2015
Project scope: Bookkeeping,
tax & business strategy

Project Scope: Bookkeeping, tax & business strategy

Advertising agency True was born eight years ago in the master bedroom of Eric Stephen’s family home – the quietest room from which to hide from his then one and a half year-old triplets.

Today, Eric is father to five girls and an agency of 22, based in North Sydney. For the past 18 months, True has taken a deep dive into its raison d’être, positioning itself as an agency that tells “stories that change the world”.

True has enhanced its digital capabilities, using data and analytics to demonstrate return on investment to clients, which has been a radical shift in its business model.

For the past two years, Generate has helped to guide True’s growth, providing strategic business and accountancy advice.

Process

Eight years prior to meeting Generate, Eric says True spent a lot of money needlessly on accounting firms that were “either really big and didn’t care, or smaller and didn’t know what they were talking about. We went through three or four firms before we found Generate.”

On top of monthly bookkeeping and tax advice, True now receives business counselling from Generate on a regular basis.

“We had to re-negotiate one of our client contracts recently and Ben Fletcher, (Managing Director of Generate) helped us to work through that at a very high level to improve our relationship, and get us what we needed,” says Eric.

He believes Generate is different to other accounting firms: “It’s the knowledge they have of similar-sized creative businesses, as well as the fact that they are a professional services firm, too. No one’s clocking us down to the minute, they are very fair in terms of their time tracking, and offer business-planning products that are very useful.”

Value

“We want to be a $4 million agency in the next 18 months, and a $10 million agency in the next three years. But financial goals are only part of it. For us, it goes deeper. We’ve created a culture truly by accident where everyone in the business cares about each other more than in any other workplace I’ve ever been part of. Realising our purpose and keeping our culture intact as we grow – that’s our key goal,” Eric says.

“What Generate does on a day-to-day basis is directly responsible for growing us in the way we want to grow. The more access we give them, the more they deliver.”

It’s personal, too. “Ben is very relaxed and frank, he challenges us. He’ll say: ‘Why would you do that?’ He meshes with us well. Overall, I’d say Generate is very similar to us. We take what we do very seriously, but not ourselves. We’re very relaxed and personable, and we like to work with people who are similar, but have the knowledge to back them.”

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