Business values and ethics sound great on paper, but many forget these exist the moment they leave home to go to their jobs or businesses. Steve Pipe thinks that the era of ignoring your business values is over. It is time to rise. In this episode, Ben Baker interviews accountant, consultant, and coach Steve, as they go over how businesses can do good. Tune in and listen as they analyze what you can do to create the business impact it needs with insights from Steve's book, Our Time to RISE.
[00:01:03] Thank you, my wonderful audience, for coming back. You guys are amazing. Thank you for all your responses and emails. Thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, telling me what you love and what you don't love. It's important. I've been doing a rant on LinkedIn mostly about humanity and business about, "How do we become more human? How do we communicate more effectively? How do we go back to a point in time where we talk to people instead of talking at people?" With that, I wanted to have this guest on board. Steve Pipe is the author of Our Time to RISE. He is involved quite heavily in B1G1 and is a prolific writer. Steve, welcome to the show. I can't wait to talk about how do we elevate people and businesses and make the world a better place.
[00:02:03] It's so great to be here. I'm excited as you've done that intro because I'm looking forward to hearing what we're going to say together.
[00:02:12] That's what conversations are all about. I love this show is that it's a conversation. Most people don't know I walk in with 1 or 2 notes. I'll look through people's websites. I might read the jacket of their book. I might have a link through their LinkedIn profile, but for the most part, I walk in curious. I want to know about people. I want to give them the opportunity to tell their story and see where the conversation takes us.
I'm excited to see where this conversation goes. We've had such great conversations off-air. I can't wait to see what happens when we put a mic in front of both of us. Let's start with you. You're a recovering or retired accountant. I didn't know if it's recovering or retired, but you've been in the business for years. I want to find out what first drew you to accountancy. Tell me a little bit about your career. How did you get from where you were to where you are now?
[00:03:36] I'm based in Yorkshire, England. It's about 200 miles North of London. I studied Economics at university. If the truth be known, I would have been an economist were it not for what's turned out to be a guiding principle for me, which was, "Always follow your heart and always do the things that you love." At university, I met my then-girlfriend and now wife. We've been married for many years. We want to get married and live together. There were no jobs for economists in the part of Yorkshire where we were going to live, so I became an accountant.
I stumbled into it because love and marriage were more important than a career, but accountancy was a great career. It allowed me to use my numerous skills, get close to business under the skin of the business, and understand what was going on. Over a 30-year career as an accountant, I went from qualifying with KPMG. I was the Head of Finance for Kodak here in the UK for £140 million at a division of Kodak called the CID, Computer Imaging Division, before it went bust. It has nothing to do with me whatsoever that it went bust. This was many years ago.
Before it went bust, I had left. I set up my own accounting business and consulting business. I grew that in fact to a team of 40 people, the consulting business, and sold it to the management team at 50. I've had the whole spectrum of experience from a startup entrepreneur to blue-chip to a successful business and then exiting to the management team and retiring. However, retirement for me looks very different from the way it does with many people. I don't play golf, although I could walk to three golf courses from my house. That doesn't interest me.
What drives me still and gets me up in the morning is this idea that business can be a force for good, not just because of the work that businesses do, their products and services, but over and above that, we can have a positive impact on the world. Let's face it. The world needs some good stuff flowing out into it. There are so many challenges, issues, and problems, hunger, poverty, environmental damage, climate change. You can take inequality and injustice.Businesses have to succeed if they're going to do any good in the world because if they don't succeed, they can't keep on doing good. Click To Tweet
You can take the list and there are at least seventeen of them because the United Nations identified and put seventeen global goals around them. What drives me based on that 40-year career is following through on that idea that was right there at the very beginning, which is, "Follow your heart and what feels right." What feels right to me is business as a force for good.
[00:06:09] I truly believe that every business has the ability to elevate itself, its people and clients, and be a force for change in the world. It's up to us to realize where our pocket is, "What are the things we're good and bad at?" and be able to focus on the good things and say, "I can't change the world, but I can change my corner of it or at least influence it."
What was it that you saw through your years of accountancy that brought you to that epiphany that said it's time to sit there and say, "We need to sit there, elevate companies, and help them be better at being companies and being people within companies?" What were the things that you saw that you loved during your 40 years? What were the real challenges that sat there and said, "That needs to be changed and I can do my part to be able to fix that?"
[00:07:10] I've never sat down and tried to dissect my own life quite in that way, but let me do it and see where we get to. I love accountancy because numbers are the building blocks and the language of business. If you understand the numbers, you can then start working out how to change and improve them. My entire focus when I was both an accountant was serving my employer Kodak and my clients, and then for most of the time when I was supporting other accountants to serve their clients better because that's the consulting business that I built. I focused on accountants as my audience, helping them serve their clients better.
My focus then was all about numerical results, "How can we drive up sales and profits? How can we improve cashflow? How can we improve the business owner's wealth and the value of their business?" Those things are fundamentally important, without a shadow of a doubt. They're vital enablers. Businesses have to succeed if they're going to do any good in the world because, if they don't succeed, they can't keep on doing good.
What I discovered was that there is a disconnect and those traditional measures of results are not enough. I don't know about you, Ben, but I've seen so many business people over the years who are lovely human beings at home in their family lives. Many people are lovely people until they leave the front door and go to work and then something changes.
The values, kindness, caring, consideration, and generosity that are part of their DNA in their family life and whole life behind their front door don't follow through to work. They don't exhibit the same values, kindness, generosity, and humanity to take your wonderful world in a business environment. It's that disconnect that creates a lot of discontent in people's minds.
I've lost track of a number of businesses that list their values but don't live them. In other words, we can all go through an exercise, list our values, and even create a value statement and it will have words like kindness. You'll have nice words on it, but all too often, those values are not lived. They're left at the front door at home as it were.
My awakening was this idea that, "If those are values, they need to show up everywhere, not just inside our homes and families but throughout our businesses." They need to run through the middle of our businesses in the same way that here in the UK, you go to the seaside and you get a stick of rock. It's got the words of, "Run right away through the stick of rock." They need to run through everything. They need to show up in our habits, cultures, behaviors, systems, brand stories, and everywhere else genuinely.
When they don't show up, it's one of the reasons that people, despite the financial numbers, sales profits, and wealth cashflow may be going in the right direction, are often disappointed, disillusioned, and disaffected with their lives in business. How could it be called success unless we're enjoying it and it's delivering for us the joy in our hearts, smile on our faces, and spring in our steps? If it's wearing us out, grinding us down, or even if it's not doing those things, if it's leaving us without a sense of purpose, contribution, and making a positive impact, then it doesn't feel enough.
I'm sure you're seeing this, too. We're increasingly seeing that people in businesses of all sizes and all points in their career want more than just financial success, the stuff that I used to measure as an accountant. It's that recognition and understanding that we need to be living our values and not just listing them in our business that drives me.
[00:11:52] You talked about how important economic success is. If you don't have economic success, it's very difficult for you to be philanthropic and drive the programs for people, profit, purpose. I'm a true believer of the triple bottom line. There has to be people, purpose, and profits. All three of them need to exist in order to have a successful business.
There are too many people out there that create these wonderful mission, vision, and value statements that mean nothing. I've been part of them. I have taken more management teams that I can care of on these wonderful all-expense-paid weekends up into the mountain somewhere with a whole bunch of whiteboards and markers and created these mission, vision, and value statements.
They sound wonderful on paper. I said, "How are you going to implement and live these?" That's where people get blank. They get all excited by seeing all these words up on a page. I said, "How are you going to live them?" You get blank stares. You get the deer-in-the-headlights look because people said, "Isn't that enough that we've put these words out there?" They mean nothing to the average employee if we don't tell the brand story and if we don't have that story that builds it.
Let's talk about this because you're a prolific writer. You've written thirteen books. You're working on your thirteenth. How do you help people tell that story of purpose to get them to have those a-ha moments to realize, "Our companies can be better. We can treat our people, vendors, and clients better. We can treat the world better because that's what the world needs. Not only those inspiring a-ha moments, but they also need the practical tools to be able to take those moments of motivation and carry them forward?"
[00:14:20] I'm sure that there are many dimensions to a proper answer to that question. I'm not an expert in most of those dimensions. You and your guests would collectively have far more knowledge than me. It's the one dimension of an answer to that I would like to focus on because it's the one I understand. Like you, I've read hundreds, if not thousands, of business books and listened to masses of podcasts. I had been on an enormous number of courses and a huge number of information has gone into my head.Success without the sense of making a positive impact doesn't feel enough. Click To Tweet
The challenge is always turning ideas into action. It's this idea that we live our values rather than list them. That makes complete and absolute sense, but like every single other idea that I've ever come across in business, the challenge is to break it down into a simple enough first step that we do something because unless we take the first step, we're never going to take the subsequent ones.
My focus throughout my career in all of the things I've done as a trainer, writer, coach, and facilitator has always been, "Let's work out the simplest place to start and let's help people start there." It's not the whole solution, but they're not going to get to the whole solution unless they start somewhere. If they start somewhere too hard, they're going to give up because it's too hard and there are too many other things to do as well. If they start somewhere that takes too much time, they're going to give up because it takes too much time and there are too many other things to do as well.
For me, it's always been about, "Where is the easiest and best place to start?" With your permission, I'm going to illustrate my perspective on that by going through a little scenario that I would often do on stage and then get your input on the scenario and ask readers to be reflecting on their perspective on the scenario. Let's imagine that we want to work out in a town or city and we fancy a cup of coffee or some other hot drink if we're not a coffee drinker. We're going to go into a coffee shop and buy a cup of coffee and maybe sit down and drink it.
As it happens, we're standing on the street. Right in front of us next to each other are two coffee shops, one on the left, one on the right. We can go into equal, either. They're equally convenient. In fact, they look equally nice. We can see from the price boards that they charge exactly the same amount of money for exactly the same cup of coffee and portion size. The furnishings inside are equally nice. The baristas are equally good. There is literally nothing to distinguish between these two coffee shops in front of us. They're both charging whatever the going rate is. Let's say it's $3 for a cup of coffee on either side.
The coffee shop on the left serves you your cup of coffee or whatever hot drink you choose. For your $3, you sit down and drink it. The coffee shop on the right serves exactly the same coffee for exactly the same price. When you buy your cup of coffee in that coffee shop, not only do you get your drink, your hot cup of coffee, but you unlock a day's worth of access to a clean life, giving water to someone somewhere else in the world where their other option will be walking for 40 minutes to go and collect some brown stuff. I've done that in Kenya, some brown stuff, otherwise known as water from a puddle. I would bring it back and have to drink this.
You're standing in front of these two coffee shops. You can choose the coffee shop that sells you a cup of coffee for $3 or the coffee shop that sells you the same cup of coffee for $3 but make someone else's life better in the world somewhere else at no extra cost to you for the same $3. The question I always ask groups is, "Which of those two coffee shops are you going to go into? The one on the left or the one on the right?" You know that the one on the right is different in that respect.
The answer that I always get and I usually get it if there's a large group of people. I get them to literally go and stand on the left-hand side or the right-hand side of the room if I'm standing in front of them as an audience. You get this visual representation of almost everybody on the right-hand side. The odd person on the left-hand side has genuinely not understood the question or occasionally has some other reason why they go to the left-hand side or doesn't care about clean water or only cares about themselves or whatever.
Those things are fine but think of this from two perspectives. If anybody reading this is thinking, "What if I go to the coffee shop on the right? I would go there because why wouldn't I? I'm getting what I want, but the world is made slightly better as a consequence," let's think about the implications of being in the two coffee shops. We're all running, working in, and leading businesses. We, essentially in our businesses, have a simple choice to either metaphorically be the coffee shop on the left or the coffee shop on the right.
Let's compare and contrast the two. The one on the left has got practically nobody in my little example. I understand that life is not as simple as this. The numbers are not going to be as dramatic as this. In my little example, I've got 100 people in front of me. I've got 99 people going to the coffee shop on the right because they've literally stood up and gone to that side of the room and I've got maybe the one on the left. We can conclude even if we eliminate from that sample the fact that people aren't always going to behave the way they say they do, the coffee shop on the right is going to sell more coffee.
If I'm the accountant looking at rational decision-making, which of these two coffee shops is going to be more successful? It's obviously going to be able to deliver on the promise of the water. It's going to be able to tell the story of the water in a way that resonates and doesn't alienate. That's a communication storytelling challenge. If it can crack that, the coffee shop on the right is going to sell a lot more coffee. Not only is it going to sell a lot more coffee and will look at the profitability of that coffee in a second, but it's also going to energize the team.
In which of those two coffee shops, if you're a barista, are you going to be enthusiastic about selling more coffee? The one on the left, you sell another cup of coffee and put more profit in the business owner's pocket. The one on the right, which is on the right because it's doing the right thing and the one is on the left because it's going to get left behind. It's an easy way to remember the two coffee shops. The one that's doing right, the person does know that every cup of coffee helps change your life, "I want to sell more coffee and serve my clients, but I've got more purpose and meaning in my job of selling coffee."
The coffee shop on the right, they're selling more coffee. They've got a more engaged team. If you're going to be talking about one or other of these coffee shops, if you've got to be recommending it or referring it to a friend, which one would you refer to? Not the one on the left. The only one you would talk about is the coffee shop on the right. It gets word-of-mouth advertising, referrals, and an energized team. It makes a measurable impact on the world and sells more coffee.
Let's look at the question of profitability. What about the profitability per cup of coffee? The coffee shop on the left sells the coffee for $3. The one on the right sells it for the same $3, but to fund the days' worth of water is less than $0.01. If they put their prices up, it's fractional. I can't think of any other $0.01 investment per cup of coffee that potentially has that much impact on sales, profitability, engagement, word-of-mouth advertising, and the joy and energy that the team experience.
If I'm the owner of the coffee shop on the left, I'm selling less coffee and I haven't got much purpose. If I'm the owner of the coffee shop on the right, I'm doing the right thing. I wake up in the morning knowing that the more coffee we sell is not only that going to help me and my family accumulate wealth profits and business value, but it's going to make a difference in the world. Everybody is pulling in that same direction and proud to be part of that.
I win as the business owner on the right-hand side emotionally, financially, intellectually, and morally. I lose on the left-hand side. Now, I go back to where my hat is as an accountant and economist. For me, the single most important book in economics in the last couple of years is by Daniel Kahneman. It's called Thinking, Fast and Slow. I wouldn't recommend anybody reads it because it's heavy. He revisited Economics and invented what we now call Behavioral Economics, which didn't exist before Kahneman.
That says, "Let's not look at the theory. Let's look at actual behavior." Actual behavior is that even though the economic theory has been based on the assumption that we behave rationally, most of the time, most decisions are not made rationally. They're made fast-thinking, knee-jerk reaction, judgmental, prejudice, biased and so on. If when something matters like the future of our business and planet, we apply some slow thinking, which is rational, reasoned, and considered.Unless we take the first step, we're never going to take the subsequent ones. Click To Tweet
Let's go back to applying some slow, rational thinking to our two coffee shops example. Rationally, which coffee shop should any of us run? Whether we run a retail or manufacturer, a coffee shop is maybe a metaphorical example. It's business. The one on the left getting left behind or the one on the right making everything better in every respect? Rationally, we should do the one on the right. Emotionally, we should do the one on the right.
For me, there's a decision-making sweet spot. When the facts and feelings align supporting a single decision, that is when we should, "That decision is crystal clear." The facts and feelings around being the coffee shop on the right, for me at least, completely align, "I'm going to sell more coffee, make more money, make life better for my family, and make the world a better place. Why on Earth would I not do that?"
[00:23:41] I love everything that you had to say. It's so true that we need to sit there and say, "By doing good for others, we're doing good for ourselves, our clients, our employees, and everybody." The nominal cost extra is more than made up by aligning yourself with people that have the same purpose that you do that become your marketing vehicle and more loyal clients. I want to get back to this where it was as simple as, "You need to make things simple and easy to start."
[00:24:20] I'm glad you brought me back to that. One of the thirteen books that I wrote back is the previous book. We're going to be giving everybody the chance of downloading a copy for free. I'm not trying to sell a book. I would love to give it away to everybody and every reader. My most recent book that's published is called Our Time to RISE. RISE is an acronym. R stands for Reconnect with our values. Don't just list them, but start living them. Decide that we're going to put those values and not just leave them at the front door but bring them through into our business. That's the first step.
The second step in the model, I stands for Impact, which is, decide on the impact you want to create in the world and then work out how to embed that in your business behaviors. For the coffee shop, it was simple. Every time you sell a cup of coffee, we provide a day's worth of water. It's equally simple for each of the rest of us. All you got to do is think about two things, triggers and impacts.
The triggers might be every time you make a sale, get a new customer, get a referral, hit a goal, someone listens to your podcast, follows you on social media, or shares one of your posts. The trigger is something that is good for your business that nudges the dial forward for your business in some way. That will vary from business to business. The coffee shop one is simply an example. In that case, it's making a sale, a cup of coffee, but it could be anything else that's good for your business.
Let's make this simple. Take a piece of paper with a vertical line down the middle. On the left-hand side, start thinking about, what are the triggers in your business? Making a sale, getting paid, winning a customer, getting an invitation to attend, or whatever they are. You're not committing to doing something with every one of these triggers, but at least come up with a list of potential triggers. On the right-hand side, what could we link that trigger to make the world a better place in a way that resonates with us?
If you're a coffee shop, there's a real resonance between, "If you sell a cup of coffee or drink to a customer, you provide water or another form of drink to someone you're never going to meet elsewhere in the world who wouldn't otherwise have clean water." There's a resonance there, but it doesn't have to be that kind of resonance.
Another resonant one will be, "Every time we sell a book, we plant a tree." It might be, "Every time we send out an invoice, we feed a child. Every time someone comes to one of our webinars, we feed the homeless American," or whatever it is we choose to do. I used a set of tools by B1G1 because I was looking for a way to take these ideas and make them simple and easy.
[00:27:23] Define B1G1. Is it Buy One, Give One?
[00:27:26] B1G1 originally stood for Buy One, Give One.
[00:27:32] B1G1.com is how you find it.
[00:27:41] The story that I've talked about is the trigger is making a sale and then it unlocks whatever act of kindness you choose. If a coffee shop makes a sale, it unlocks a day's worth of water. The triggers and impacts can be whatever we choose. The challenge is working out how to plant a tree or provide a day's worth of water and so on. If I gave $10 to almost any charity here in the UK and probably in the States as well or anywhere else in the world, the only thing you know with certainty is how much money you've given. You don't know how much of that $10 goes on admin costs or bank charges.
Even if you could work that out from looking at a set of accounts, "$7.50 of my $10 goes through to projects," you don't know which projects have been impacted by those $7.50. The only thing we can measure with traditional giving is the amount we've given. That's not very motivating. I'll go back to the left and right coffee shop. If the coffee shop on the right had said, "Come in and buy a coffee. We'll give $0.01 away to charity," I don't know about you, but that wouldn't have driven much of a change in my behavior.
It's not so much. It's a nice thing to do. It's admirable and still great, but it doesn't have the same emotional connection as, "Come in and get a cup of coffee and a child in Africa gets access to clean water for the day," because the story is much more meaningful and resonant. The problem with most charities is that you only can measure the amount of money given. Therefore, you can't tell the impact story.
With the B1G1 Tours, they've taken the cost of projects and broken them down. I can fund a day's worth of water or a single tree, or days' worth of education, or days' worth of vitamin A supplements to prevent child blindness or a single meal for a homeless American. It's $0.11 in that case. The other things I've talked about were mostly $0.01 projects. When I choose to give, my money is completely, number one, ring-fenced, so it can only be used for that specified purpose and 100% of the money that I give flows through to that specified purpose.Don't just list your values; start living them, bring them through into your business, and not just leave them at the front door. Click To Tweet
I can now measure with certainty the impact that I've created, the number of days water, the number of trees planted, the number of homeless Americans fed and so on. I can tell the story in terms of the impact that we've created, not the dollar value of what we've given. That changes everything because the emotional connection around giving a percentage or a dollar value is not as high as it is around changing a life in a clear, transparent, and provable way. B1G1 is a set of tools that allows me, number one, to do that and then the second bit of genius. I'm an accountant in mind.
We talked about the third step in my RISE acronym. S stands for Storify, which is tell the story of what you're doing. People often say, "I don't want to talk about the kindness that we're doing. That's somehow inappropriate. Mom and dad brought me up not to boast." You don't want to boast, but there are two reasons why we need to find an appropriate way to tell the story. Firstly, if we don't tell the story in our marketplace, no one will know. Therefore, there will be no commercial benefits. Even if we ignore that rational perspective, if we don't tell the story, no one will know. Therefore, no one else can be inspired to do something similar.
Our job as business leaders is to lead. It's not just to do things that make things better for us, but it's to lead in a world that helps make things better. It's other people doing better things. If I see a coffee shop that's telling the story of how it's providing water to children and I'm running a shoe shop, I might decide to put shoes on people without shoes. Through our behavior, if we tell the story appropriately, we can inspire others.
I'm of the opinion that we need to tell the story about kindness. We just need to find an appropriate way of doing that without coming across as arrogant, boastful, or in any other way of being inappropriate. That's about finding the right words and language. That's why I talked in terms of, for example, a cup of coffee unlocking a day's worth of access to water.
That's a lovely way of describing it. It's not, "We donate a day's worth of water," because words, like donate, have connotations, whereas unlocking a day's worth of access to water is somehow nicer. It's about finding the right words and tapping to the right emotion, but it's also about providing the numbers to back up the claims.
I don't know about you and you might be familiar with this syndrome. Often, in this country, a few days before Christmas, I get emails from people who say, "I haven't sent a Christmas card this year because we've given it to charity." That's a lovely thing to do. Call me skeptical if you want. I'm often thinking, "I wonder whether they really have," because people say all sorts of things. This is where the accountant in me comes back in. Unless they have quantifiably and demonstrably proven with data, I'm not necessarily going to fully believe that.
A key part of the storytelling is producing what I would call an impact statement. Our website is where we are showing the positive impact of our business out on the world. The coffee shop would simply have a running total of how much water they gave away. That's not going to be measured by the cupful or gallon but days' worth of access to water, which they know they can fund that less than $0.01 per person per day.
[00:33:21] It shows impact. It shows the fact that say, "They're doing something. They didn't give away $3.25. They created 325 days' worth of water." That's a big difference.
[00:33:37] Being able to say we supplied 325 days' worth of water is massively more resonant, impactful, powerful, persuasive, and inspiring than $3.25. They're the same thing, but we need to work out how best to tell the story. It's in terms of the impact metrics, not the input because dollar value is just the input. It's what the dollar value creates that matters.
I love the fact that B1G1 automatically keeps the score for me. I can, on my website, show to the world the 6,020,000-something days of help that I've been able to unlock by selling books and so on throughout my career. I can also then build a community. I'm building a community for which the target is to unlock 100 million days of help and I can showcase to the world where we are at. We've given 9.4 million days of help in 2021 collectively in our community and 21 million days collectively all time. We're 21% of the way towards my 100-million target.
That gets me up in the morning, inspires me, and fills me with purpose and passion. It backs it up with data. It touches my soul, both the accountant in me that likes the data, analysis, and facts and wants to know it's true, real, believable, and credible, and the human in me which wants to follow my heart. Go back to the very beginning of my story. Do things because they're the right thing to do. Do things because they put joy in my heart and a smile on my face and on the face of others, others that live now and others that have not yet even been born.
If we don't do something to solve these massive problems of inequality, injustice, poverty, hunger, lack of access to education, environmental damage and so on, that is going to come to hurt every single one of us, either directly ourselves or indirectly through our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Even if we take a selfish perspective on solving those problems, if we don't solve them, those problems are going to spill out across the world.
[00:36:00] I've got one last question that I want to ask you because you've given us so much to think about. Here's the one thing I want you to think about. When you leave a meeting, step off-stage, or get in your car and you drive away, what's the one thing you want people to think about Steve when you're not in the room?
[00:36:23] I have never been asked that question. I now know what I can do to make things better in the world and my own business. I now know a simple place to start to make things better. We got there in our time together. Everybody now knows the first thing or the simple thing they can do. My job is not to try and master all of the possible answers to the wonderful questions you've asked me because I'm not clever enough to do that, but to help people see where a great place to start is so that they live their values rather than list them so that they are as nice in business as they are at home. If we get that across, that will be awesome.
[00:37:12] If we all start and have small little wins, those wins become bigger. Steve, thank you for being such an amazing guest. Thank you for your insights. I have so much enjoyed this conversation.
[00:37:26] Thank you so much, Ben, for making all of this possible.
Previously named as the world’s most highly rated accountant and advisor to accountants, Steve is a best-selling author, dynamic speaker and former UK Entrepreneur of The Year. As a co-founder of Speakers for Good he is a passionate advocate of the Business for Good Movement, where his goal is to help provide 100 million days of help to people in need across the world (with the total amount provided so far standing at 19 million days).
His books for accountants include “The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants”, which has been described by other practice development gurus a “masterpiece”, “ground-breaking” and “desperately needed”, and “The UK’s best accountancy practices”, which ICAEW President Mark Spofforth describes on the dust jacket as “brilliant”. And his other books include “101 ways to make more profits”, “Stress proof your business and your life”, “How to build a better business and make more money”, and the “Better business, Better life, Better world” trilogy.
In 2012 Steve was named “The world’s most highly rated accountant and advisor to accountants” in recognition of the fact that he has more recommendations (now over 500) on LinkedIn than any other adviser or accountant. In 2015 he was shortlisted by AccountingWeb for the first ever “Outstanding Contribution to Accounting” award in the UK. In 2017 he created the free “Get and Give A Million” system to help accountants get better results for their clients, themselves and the world.
From 2018 he has been giving away all of his time and intellectual property for free in order to help make the world a better place. In 2020 he teamed up once again with the legendary Paul Dunn to distil the key things they have learned across a lifetime in business into their most important book yet, “Our time to RISE”. Revealing how any business can become a powerful force for good, quickly and easily, “Our time to Rise” is being given away free of charge to every business in the world. And in 2021 he is researching and writing “The world’s most inspiring businesses”.
Outside of work Steve has been married (to an accountant) for almost 40 years, has three adult children and lives in Yorkshire. His hobbies include playing tennis badly, and playing blues guitar terribly.