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Business with Purpose


Jun 17, 2020

As a business owner, often one of our biggest pain points are taxes and accounting. My guest today is especially passionate about helping social entrepreneurs tackle this aspect of their business in a purposeful way. Jessica Mah is the founder and CEO of inDinero and loves helping entrepreneurs run better businesses. She has grown the company from zero to over 250 employees and has been featured in the Forbes & Inc “30 Under 30 list.” Jessica left high school at age 15 to attend Bard College at Simon’s Rock, studied computer science at UC Berkeley, went through Y Combinator, and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). I loved talking with Jessica! She is brilliant and can take concepts like taxes and accounting, do them with passion and purpose, and even make others excited about them! Join me for this inspiring conversation with Jessica Mah.

2:17 - The Jess 101

  • Jess Mah is the founder and CEO of a company called inDinero. inDinero does accounting and taxes for small businesses with the idea that there’s a better way to deliver a more delightful accounting experience for business owners through technology and automation.
  • Jess found a way to create sustainable and ethical finance for businesses working on social issues.
  • B Corps are certified purpose-driven organizations, but it is an extremely difficult process to be certified. It can take years to prepare for, and Jess and her team help their customers who have purpose-driven businesses make a greater impact right away rather than getting bogged down in years of certification processes.

6:07 – Purpose-Driven Organizations in a Time of Crisis.

  • During this unprecedented time of a global pandemic, the work of inDinero can help businesses tackle the difficult questions that may initially arise like “How will we pay our rent”, or “How do we deal with payroll when our employees are not working?”
  • Once that painful part has been addressed and tackled, the next steps are finding ways to recalibrate and innovate for a “new normal.”
  • It can be hard to see the other side of the hard times or the breakthrough that can come from a challenging season in our businesses or personal lives.
  • Jess is using that mission-driven motivation from both her personal and professional life to rally with other organizations (like c19coalition.org) and raise working capital to provide PPE for hospitals and other businesses.

13:39 – Prioritizing Profit, People, and Planet

  • Jess had an epiphany while attending a CEO summit series. She initially got into accounting because she believed it could be turned around from something that’s typically boring to something that’s sexy. She wanted to help companies feel like they’re doing something impactful for business and the world at large.
  • While speaking with a very successful global business owner at the summit series, Jess told him that she loves her business and would like for it to be more helpful and impactful.
  • The conversation helped Jess consider how doubling or tripling a company’s bottom line, helping them manage their giving program, and lending to other non-profit organizations could allow them to do more good overall.

17:15 – Purpose Along the Way

  • Jess’ first goal was to make an entrepreneur’s life better because accounting and financial management is so painful for entrepreneurs. What she found over the years was that it didn’t feel as impactful as she thought it could and knew she could help business impact scale up to 80-90%.
  • So many entrepreneurs are or have been in Jess’ shoes where they start making a profit and realize they want to be able to do good as well.
  • That process is challenging because once they’ve started growing profit, they don’t have as strong of a cultural pull to make a difference. The products being sold may not be directly tied to impact.
  • Jess started being more candid and open conversations with other businesses wanting to make impact, which helped create a more powerful change through collaboration.
  • In the next 10 years, Jess thinks there will be an even greater shift to a triple-bottom line of planet, people, and profit. Not only does she think it’s possible, she thinks it will actually be front and center of most organizations.
  • Collaborating with various leaders and businesses on the C19 Coalition has created so much opportunity for a more collective community. Working together has multiplied the amount of good. 
  • Accounting may not directly change the world, but inDinero can help their customers utilize their assets for greater impact. 

27:41 – Getting to Know Our Guest

  • Find out Jess is learning about herself during Covid-19, what her guilty pleasure is, what she would do differently if she knew no one was judging her, what she’s reading right now, and of course, what it means to Jess to run a business with purpose!

CONNECT WITH JESS AND INDINERO:

  • If you would like to connect with Jess and her team to talk about the good work you’re trying to do, you can email ceo@indinero.com
  • https://www.indinero.com/
  • https://twitter.com/indinero
  • https://www.linkedin.com/company/indinero
  • https://www.facebook.com/inDinerocom

Memorable Quotes:

  • 5:56 - “Doing this helps a CEO be more focused and probably be more successful than if they were just directly focused on only profit and making money.”
  • 7:40 – “As Covid-19 became a problem, I told our employees that this is their chance to be the essential, front line workers but in the business world. You have doctors and nurses helping patients, and in our case, businesses are our patients.”
  • 11:31 - “I think it’s a two-part problem. On one hand, we do have to deal with the onslaught of problems …that’s the most painful part, but once you get through that, then you can start having these conversations around how we really maximize this and see it as an opportunity.”

ABOUT JESSICA MAH:

As Founder and CEO of inDinero, Jess loves helping entrepreneurs run better businesses. She has grown the company from zero to over 250 employees and has been featured in the Forbes and Inc 30 Under 30 Lists. Jessica left high school at age 15 to attend Bard College at Simon's Rock, studied computer science at U.C. Berkeley, went through Y Combinator, and is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).

Her passions and hobbies include mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs, DJ’ing at night clubs, and flying airplanes. She’s also been extremely active with C19Coalition which is helping bring millions of N95 masks and other medical supplies to hospitals.

Leave a comment below with something you learned from this episode.