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038: Accountants Who Change Lives with Harvee Pene

Harvee Pene is an accountant, entrepreneur and TEDx speaker based in Brisbane, Australia. Harvee started his first business when he was only 12 years old, saving enough money mowing lawns that he was able to purchase his first investment property at the age of 17! From there he was able to found his own construction training and labor hire company. After studying accounting, he also launched Inspire CA. For every tax dollar this accounting firm saves their clients, they are able to provide a family in need with a day’s access to food, water, healthcare and sanitation. Harvee is also the co-author of Cashed Up: 7 Steps to Pull More Money, Time and Happiness From Your Business and hosts the podcast Inspiring Businesses for Good.

For our last episode of 2019, Harvee discusses how his early struggles fostered his entrepreneurial spirit, explains why he changed his focus from construction to accounting, and draws connections between the ritualistic haka dance and his own determined attitude. And if you’re listening to this on January 31, be sure to cast your vote for the Do Well & Do Good Challenge on our Facebook page ASAP.


Show Notes:

    • What was life like for Harvee growing up and how did his circumstances inspire his entrepreneurial spirit?
      • His mother had his older sister when she was very young, and Harvee himself only a few years later. Grew up in a poor socioeconomic area of New Zealand. They moved to Australia for a better opportunity,
      • Being entrepreneurial came naturally due to their circumstances; everything on their plates had to be earned in some way.
      • The ultimate dream in Australia is to own your own home; inspired by his own parents’ success in doing so, Harvee sought to own property as well.
    • How was Harvee inspired to save so much money at such a young age?
      • He was drawn to reading business and inspirational books; realized early on that being an entrepreneur could enable him to purchase his own property and help others.
    • What was the learning curve like for Harvee starting out in small business?
      • In Australia it’s very easy to work in construction; he built up his own crew by the time he was in his late teens.
      • Clients often underestimated or overlooked him as the leader of his team due to his age and youthful appearance.
      • He accepted that age is only a number and is unable to limit how much you’re able to achieve.
    • Why did he end up selling his construction business and move into accounting?
      • While he was successful in this line of work, he knew that he didn’t want to spend his life doing physical labor.
      • He sprang on becoming an accountant when seeking out a new career path due to his family’s past experience with money and wanting to be in a place where financial success was not only secure but part of the job.
      • Asked a friend who worked in an accounting firm to intern for free; was repeatedly turned down until his friend finally relented.
      • Ended up starting a consulting firm with his friend, helping other accountants figure out how to do more for their own clients.
      • They ended up working with approximately 600 of the top accounting firms in Australia.
    • How did Harvee end up co-founding Inspire CA?
      • His accounting consulting firm was so valuable it was listed on the Australian stock exchange.
      • He saw that a boring corporate environment lay in his future, but he wanted to remain hands-on in his work and not like some cog in a machine.
      • Met his now-business partner Ben Walker, who had the original idea for Inspire CA; once Harvee had the opportunity to leave his job he did so and joined Ben with Inspire.
      • They also found a mentor in Paul Dunn and his B1G1 organization (see episode 32); his work pushed them to give back through Inspire CA as well.
      • Through Day for a Dollar, every dollar Inspire CA saves their clients in taxes goes to helping the underprivileged in Australia; to date, they’ve saved their clients over $7 million in tax and enabled 7 million “days” for those in need.
    • What are some impacts that have really touched Harvee’s heart?
      • Visited Cambodia earlier this year and was deeply affected by how much a well Inspire CA had funded was able to positively impact an impoverished community.
      • It put a lot of the relatively petty complaints and concerns people in the West have in perspective.
    • Regarding Harvee’s TEDx talk, what does he mean when he says we can really be, do or have anything we want?
      • It’s something he truly believes, drawing on the haka (a ceremonial dance in Maori culture).
      • Through the same principles as the haka, you can instill a sense of invulnerability in yourself and take a warrior-like approach achieving your goals.
    • Who has been the most impactful person in Harvee’s journey to do well and achieve financial success?
      • Daniel Flynn, the managing director and co-founder of the organization Thankyou.
    • Who has been the most impactful person in Harvee’s drive to do good?
      • Paul
    • What are some personal development and mindset practices that Harvee regularly uses?
      • Feels that rhythm in important in his personal and professional life.
      • Uses gratefulness, physical exercise and teamwork routines at Inspire CA.
    • What book does Harvee recommend to those seeking a more successful path in life?
    • What is the best piece of advice related to happiness that Harvee would give our listeners?
      • Put your family first and resolve any issues you may have with them before anything else.
    • Places to find Harvee:


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About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.

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