Generation One31 Oct 2019

Summit prize to build sustainable client base for atypical accountants

Capture1
Jolene Elliott and Theresa Sapatra created T J Accounting Consultants. Photo Credit: Wayne Quilliam.

Inspired by generations of strong women within her family, Chartered Accountant Jolene Elliott developed a passion for helping women succeed in business by understanding numbers.

With her business partner Theresa Sapatra, Jolene has created T J Accounting Consultants to empower women to be more confident business owners through financial education.

“A lot of people, especially women, dread going to their accountant and liken it to going to the dentist,” Jolene said.

“They put it in the too hard basket because they don’t understand. They have a fear that their accountant will charge them too much, or they will pay too much or too little tax.

“We want to let people know there is no reason to be scared, and we can help.

“Having previously worked in a software development company, Theresa and I are massive advocates of using technology and software to make business easier.”

Jolene and Theresa received $5,000 in seed funding at Generation One’s inaugural Dream Summit in September 2019, a forum for Indigenous entrepreneurs that have started working on a business idea and are looking for support to reach the next level.

Of the more than 200,000 qualified accountants in Australia, less than 60 are Indigenous.

Jolene is a descendant of the Yununga-Nya people and comes from a lineage of strong women.

“My great grandmother walked thousands of kilometres many times to take my grandmother back from missions,” she said.

“My grandmother fought hard for her family and was one of very few women to hold a “passport” in the 1970s to enable her to shop in the “white fellas” shops.

“My mother was taken from her mother as a baby, but despite her tough upbringing is now the CEO of Alice Springs Women’s Shelter.

“This gives me strength to know I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.”

Now based in Brisbane, Jolene said they were proud to say they were not typical accountants.

“We represent the underrepresented and we understand how it feels to be a minority,” she said.

“Together, we represent women, immigrants, the LGBTQI community and the Indigenous community. We believe diversity and inclusion is very important.”

T J Accounting Consultants started operating in May. They are slowly building up their client base and aim to expand nationally.

“We will use the opportunity the Dream Summit funding has given us for marketing,” Jolene said.

“The biggest need for us at the moment is getting our name out there and becoming better known so we can connect with new clients.

“Thanks to Dream Summit, we will be able to hire a copywriter to help us improve our website and send a clear message to potential clients about what we are all about.

Her message to people considering applying for Dream Summit is “definitely do it”.

“We thought we had no chance, being two accountants,” Jolene said.

“Have confidence in yourself and have confidence in your ideas.”