INTHEBLACK August 2021 - Magazine - Page 23
“I understand what
people fear about
automation. It’s the fear
of losing their job, or the
fear of being replaced.
But I actually feel it
gives you the ability
to elevate your job
and add more value.”
However, the idea of being in the US for long periods of
time, away from his young family, did not appeal to Giunta.
“It’s all-consuming being an entrepreneur and working
through that. I just made the decision that my family was
more important. That’s when I decided to resign as the CEO
of that business.”
Giunta was seeing the future in terms of people rather
than products. In his day-to-day accounting life, he had
been involved with a number of not-for-profits (NFPs) and
charities, and he preferred working with them to working
Many NFPs and charities lacked governance and financial
savvy. They needed to be supported, Giunta realised.
“A lot of them would get themselves into trouble, because
they simply didn’t understand the fiduciary responsibilities of
running an NFP or a charity, and so their taxes wouldn’t be
paid on time, or they wouldn’t pay the staff properly.”
When management and directors found out they could
be personally liable for mistakes, they would simply quit and
In response, Giunta formed Giuntabell in 2009 and
became a “charity CFO for hire”, well before the idea of
a roving CFO became popular.
“The charity sector – even small charities – is required to
comply with complex regulations, giving rise to the need to
have support from skilled, trusted advisers. Unfortunately, they
cannot afford a highly skilled adviser full time,” Giunta says.
“There were several organisations I was supporting, and I
could transfer knowledge between all of them. It’s as if they
were all sharing me, and yet they felt they were getting the
value of a single experienced CFO.”
The difference between working with commercial clients
and NFPs was like night and day, says Giunta. Paradoxically,
Giunta found that the latter always paid on time – they were
grateful for his help – while the former would often need
chasing for payment.
“In the not-for-profit sector, they actually value what
you provide. You’d think they’d be the ones who cause you
trouble because they’re not always good with their finances.
But it’s the reverse.”
One of the things that Giunta admits he may have missed
out on in his career is a mentor. He has never worked for a
boss, and thus he has never worked for someone who could
have directly given him advice.
While Giunta says most of what he has learned along the
way has been instinctual, there have been some important
writers and thinkers in the mix who influenced and guided
These include Simon Sinek, whose TED Talks inspired
Giunta to set up his company as an agency for NFPs. “It
came to the point where I realised that I preferred working
with amazing people doing amazing things on a volunteer
basis. I just felt closer to these people. I resonated with
them,” he says.
Another key influence was a book by Ronald J. Baker,
Implementing Value Pricing, which helped Giunta turn the
usual accountancy payment-for-service model on its head.
At Giuntabell, he says, no one keeps time sheets. Payment
is project or value-based, never time-based.
His aim now is to tailor packaged services for charities
large and small, and for his business to become the go-to
accountancy firm for the country’s philanthropic sector.
“We want to be able to grow to a point where we’re
actually being able to offer our services to as many charities
and not-for-profit organisations in Australia as we can.”
As Giunta says, the more accountancy functions can be
automated, the more affordable his services will be, and the
more clients he can take on. This, he feels, is what will drive
real value in the future.
AUTOMATE TO ELEVATE
Giunta has no doubt that the accounting and finance
industry will be made better, more accessible and more
useful through increased use of robotics and automation.
“I understand what people fear about automation,” he says.
“It’s the fear of losing their job, or the fear of being replaced.
But I actually feel it gives you the ability to elevate your job
and add more value.”
Nor would robots or automation ever replace the
accountant as a trusted adviser, he adds. “The skills set will
just move. To live in that new world, you need to have better
skills than before. The skills to be trusted.”
Member of the
Member of the
Standards Board’s Notfor-profit Project
Chair of CPA Australia’s
Queensland Not-forprofit Committee
Accountant of the Year,
One of the world’s top
10 finance futurists, in
Sage’s inaugural list of
finance futurists (2020)
intheblack.com August 2021 23