Mako Road - Who says all accountants are boring...

July 28, 2020


It is not often, in my accounting world, that I get to use my finance and governance skills whilst learning about a new industry, and at the same time helping some extremely talented young kiwis. That has been the outcome of crossing paths with one of our recent Nexia graduates, Rhian Ward.

Rhian was one of the founding members of indie rock band Mako Road, and despite the ‘allure of accountancy’, it quickly became clear to all that Rhian’s true passion, and calling in life, was his music.

Having already experienced, and been impressed by the quality of their early music, I offered Mako Road my services.

My premise being that, if they were going to set aside their professional careers to see how far the band could go, there were business tools I could use to give them the greatest opportunity to succeed.

I took the approach that it was no different than any other business in any other industry. If you are going to take the plunge and go all in, you might as well do it right.

The hard part of course, their musical talent and the building of a fan base, was entirely up to them.

So started my first mentoring and governance role in the music industry, and what has since become one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my 30 odd years as a chartered accountant.

I often muse as to how many bands would have a formal management reporting and governance structure. The term ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’ really does not sit well with ‘strategic business plan, values, budgets, cash flows, management reporting and quarterly board meetings’. With that said, this formal reporting structure, along with some undeniable artistic talent, has contributed to their meteoric rise, and on-going success to date.

The key, as always, is an agreed long-term goal and vision that every member of the band understands and aspires to. It becomes the road map by which to navigate the myriad of opportunities that come up in the day to day running of a business.

In the music industry, success brings an ever-increasing bombardment of offers, and the question becomes “does this help us reach that long-term goal”? If it doesn’t, then it’s what I refer to as “noise” and needs to be be ignored regardless of how attractive it may appear.

Too often businesses get side-tracked by the “noise”, and invariably what seems like a good idea proves to be nothing more than a distraction and an impediment to reaching those long-term goals.

What does all this have to do with you and your business?

I would never have considered a band to be a business, and yet I have applied business management tools to help them succeed.

This whole exercise has reinforced for me that this stuff truly works. If these business tools work for a business as obscure as a band, then there is absolutely no doubt they will work for your business.

I have had my ‘lightbulb moment’, maybe it is time for yours…

Regardless, for me it has been a journey of music festivals, recording studios, music videos, gigs, band agreements, Spotify income streams, manager contracts, merchandise and more.

And all of that adds up to a lot more fun than most accountants could handle in a lifetime...

 - Written by Doug Allcock, Director at Nexia New Zealand

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