Over Labor Day weekend, as a busy summer came to a close for System Six and for Blair and me personally, I was lucky to have some quiet time to sit back and reflect on my first year at System Six. I realized what an exciting, challenging at times, and certainly motivating year it’s been, and I thought I’d take some time to share some reflections on the year behind and all that’s ahead.
First and foremost, I’m thankful. Thankful to Jeremy, Joe, Kelly, Brooks, Lia, and the many people who built System Six over the past 13 years. They built a great business – one focused on bespoke, high-quality services using the right modern technology and processes. But more importantly, they focused its core, its ethos, on what matters most in our industry: People. They built a fantastic culture focused on joy and flexibility where the team delivers excellence, but also has fun along the way. So thank you for what you’ve built and for giving me the chance to usher System Six forward to the next level – one where we’ll continue to focus critically on making System Six the best place to work in cloud accounting.
I’m also thankful to our current team for welcoming me with an open attitude – especially to Brooks and Kelly, whom I worked with most closely out of the gate. They let me ask lots of questions and patiently listened to some not so great ideas. They let me accelerate our pace of growth, ran towards new tasks I asked of them, and allowed me to make changes to many well-established processes (meeting cadences, pay periods, hiring processes, etc.)
And to the broader team at System Six. Thank you. You, too, welcomed me with open arms, gave me a chance, and were quick to share ideas you had for improvement. Importantly, you continued to serve our clients with excellence and carried forward the most important part of System Six – our culture. I’m so thankful to work with and serve such a fantastic team. Keep it up!
And finally, I’d like to thank the broader Cloud Accounting community. Through conferences, early days coffee chats, leadership retreats, etc., many other leaders and vendors have welcomed me into the space. I’m thankful for the friendships built and the knowledge you’ve shared as we all scale our businesses alongside each other.
Next, I’m excited. Our near-term goals coming into System Six were first to honor the current business, team and core values, but next to start the journey to improve and scale our organization from one of ~20 people to one much larger, serving dozens and dozens more team members and hundreds and hundreds more clients. Thirteen months in, we’re well on our way. Of course, making fast progress towards our goals fires me up!
In a year of change, we’ve added 12 new team members and grown revenue by nearly 30%, serving over 40 new organizations from startups to scaled organizations to non-profits. There are lots of metrics we look at to monitor our business, but the one we’re most proud of is that over 90% of our job offers have been accepted. Candidates experience our culture during our extended interview process, and by the end of it, they want to come on board! This is our special sauce – our awesome team, and the fantastic culture they nurture.
Certainly, to accomplish all this, we’ve invested more across many aspects of our business, especially in hiring and new systems and processes internally, but we’re happy to remain healthily profitable. And of course, we’ve made mistakes along the way – internally and with clients – we are human. But all in, the last 13 months have been a great start to our vision for scaling System Six. And all of it is thanks to our great team.
Second, I’m excited for that very team! With growth comes opportunity – we’ve promoted several awesome individuals, given others expanded work or responsibility in their current seats, and bolstered our leadership capacity. We’re thrilled to have elevated Jaime to a Process Improvement Lead and Kelly to Head of People, a role she was already leading in many ways. As we continue to grow, I know our team will have more compelling opportunities, and I am excited to see who will step up and continue to advance their careers!
Finally, I’m motivated. Motivated to do better, both as a business, but also personally as a leader. A lot has gone right in the last 13 months. And I’m super thankful for that – we’ve worked hard, and our team has excelled. But, as we talk about internally, There’s Always Better! I’ve made some real mistakes this year – hiring too quickly, taking on complicated client projects without properly quoting costs, etc. And there are certain strategic goals we just won’t get to this year. We’ve learned a ton from these lessons, and already made improvements, but I know There’s Always Better – I can do more to deliver better outcomes for our clients and, most importantly, our team. And that’s motivating.
As I mentioned above, there’s so much demand for the services we provide. And that means there’s a clear chance to grow our team and deliver our workplace experience to more and more happy accountants. That dual-sided mission – to serve both clients and team – at an ever-increasing scale, inspires me to do better, even if just 1% better every day (shoutout to James Clear!) Over many years, if not decades, that can amount to something pretty impressive!
What an awesome year. It started with a smooth transition, largely thanks to the team that came before me and the current System Six team, who so graciously welcomed me and gave me a chance to learn. From there, both customers and team grew, validating our assumptions about the opportunities ahead of us. And we learned a ton, including from mistakes, and we can’t wait to bring those lessons to year two!
In the coming year, we’ll continue to hire and bring on new customers. But we’ll also implement new technology, add to our leadership team, and further systematize operations to support our growth – so that we can best serve our customers and our team. And we’ll never lose sight of our Northstar – building the best place to work in cloud accounting.