Date posted: 20/03/2018

Fluent in the language of business: The life of a CA entrepreneur

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As a busy entrepreneur living in Silicon Valley, Elias Bizannes is running businesses like a #boss and you could say, living the dream.

"A lot of people have ideas, but what separates entrepreneurs from the rest is those that have a bias to action. Stop wasting time and just do it. It doesn't matter if you get it wrong. What matters is that you can adapt and learn from the mistakes quickly," says Elias.

Elias began his entrepreneurial journey in 2010 as the founder of the US-based startup entrepreneurship competition, StartupBus.

His most recent venture Utmost, creates software designed to assist those suffering from chronic non-acute health conditions with a vision to "accelerate the curing of disease" and ultimately make a difference in people's lives.

Elias studied Commerce, Accounting and Finance at the University of Sydney before completing the CA Program while working as a Senior Accountant for PwC.

"My CA background is something that I still draw on. So, as recently as last week, I called my management team [as interim CEO of ZoomSystems] and asked 'Why aren't we doing a regression analysis on our sales numbers?' and I got blank stares from everyone. So I just worked on it myself over the weekend and was able to come up with the analysis. My CA background has direct applications that has made me a much more competent leader," Elias says.

As an entrepreneur, knowing how to develop and manage a business and maintain your finances is crucial.

"The core skill of being an entrepreneur is knowing how to manage cash, everything from fundraising to managing your working capital, and securing bank loans. That's ultimately what makes a successful entrepreneur and as a CA these ideas are more intuitive than for others," says Elias.

He recalls a time when he was fundraising for one of his ventures, and secured a $100k investment from another firm. The legal team dealing with the investment almost killed the deal due to a number of tax laws that posed a threat.

"I had no experience in American tax law or real estate law, but I had the skills to research. It enabled me to successfully argue with the lawyers and secure that money," Elias says.

"The thing about accounting is, it's the language of business; and I'm fluent in it."

As a Chartered Accountant who is currently operating overseas in California's Silicon Valley, Elias also acknowledges that one of the perks of the CA accreditation is the global credibility it garners.

"I'm recognised with equal standing in the US, and I could work in England, South Africa, Ireland, Hong Kong, and I'll still get that recognition. As an international operator, that’s incredibly useful."

Because of the knowledge and experience under his belt, Elias is also well placed to advise fellow entrepreneurs.

Elias says Australian entrepreneurs come to him in search of guidance, including those in the Silicon Valley area through his own initiative 'The Aussie Founders Network'.

"My CA training gives me the credibility, and the license to offer advice, but it also provides foundational knowledge, where I know what to look for."

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