24 Hours With… Ben Fletcher, managing director at Generate

24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella’s world. Today we speak with Ben Fletcher, managing director at Generate, an accounting and advisory firm specifically for the creative industries.

Mumbrella Official 24 Hours With Logoben-fletcher-generate-24-hours-with

5:00AM  and I’ve woken up 10 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I’m not sure why my body insists on being early to its own waking up!

Quick check of my email reveals a few night owl clients have sent me some interesting business ideas overnight. One in particular has decided to set up a satellite office for their marketing business in Singapore.

Gears start turning regarding available grants and the legalities of operating off-shore. I also get various emails from Hubspot outlining statistics about page hits and source domains that, despite working with marketing professionals nearly every day, I’m yet to fully comprehend.

A grand breakfast consisting of a banana and I’m out the door, in my kit and on my bike riding from home in Glebe to meet up with the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC for those in the know), at the clubhouse on Crown Street in Surry Hills.rapha-cycling-club-surry-hills

It was suggested an image of me in full kit would be of interest to you, the good reader; however, it is a fact that nobody wants to see that. There is a reason we roll around this great city before most of its citizens are awake.

I got “serious” about cycling early this year, road and mountain, thinking it’d be good for fitness and potentially good for networking. An agency owner client of mine, Mark Alexander previously a director at Ogilvy, is a cycling fanatic and I figured I may meet some more of his kind in the club.

Cycling is great for meeting likeminded people and I love the satisfaction that comes with making the most of the day, knowing that you were up early exercising whilst everyone else was (probably) STILL ASLEEP!

The ride takes us down to La Perouse and back via the southern beaches. Nothing too crazy, a cheeky 45km before work, however it’s not the quantity but the quality that counts and as the average speed was somewhat higher than previously advised I roll home with somewhat less vigour than I started the ride with.


8:00AM I get home at which point I get some all-too-brief quality time with Harvey, my 7-month-old son, whilst my brilliant wife Eve, takes our dopey dogs (Henry the French bulldog and Jimmy the rescue bitzah) for a walk.

Harvey and I read a book called King Pig. Moral of the story – be nice to people and they will like you! This book was given to me by our brilliant director of business advisory, Mr David Sharpe. Is he trying to tell me something? Concerned, I text him about the book. He finds my concern amusing and confirms he just bought it because his kid liked it.


9:00AM It’s all greetings and jokes about executive hours when I arrive – B&E roll in hand.

At my desk and see an email from a digital agency client. They have some questions in relation to the work we’ve been doing for them – calculating new rate cards for their team, in particular how these figures can be used to set targets for the team and the business.

Our work together has identified where the unused capacity is and by sharing this insight with the team and knowing the ‘real’ numbers, they know which clients are actually bringing home the bacon.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for agencies to know the numbers to plan ahead, in order to be profitable and build teams.

For example, you can define how much time is spent pitching for new work, what it is costing you, and how you can be more efficient. Then you can make an informed decision about how much time you should actually spend on a pitch.

It also helps with staff retention, especially with millennials and creatives, who may have the mindset if they want a promotion they have to jump ship. By setting clear pathways to success – both professionally and financially – everyone will have a clearer idea of what they need to do to progress.

10:00AM Next up: WIP meetings; up first is our tax and advisory teams. I’m mostly told good news, but informed that work is delayed because clients are slow at responding to our information requests.

We have a quick brainstorm about how to deliver the information in a more timely fashion. Prize wheels, raffle tickets, lucky dips and free hotdogs are amongst the ideas offered and it becomes clear that this problem will not be resolved easily nor with ideas that all have a weird carnival vibe.

2:00PM A sunny stroll over to Surry Hills for my monthly meeting with the charming and sharp Lauren Fried of Pulse Collective and occasional guest of The Gruen Transfer.

I act as CFO/adviser for her growing marketing agency and we meet to discuss the performance of the business, how to incentivise staff, future plans and industry gossip/news. We also discuss the interesting work being done by her business with The Star and her partner, Jock Zonfrillo of Restaurant Orana.

4:00PM: Clear out emails that have arrived in the interim. I have a thing about emails. Not very unique, but anything other than an empty inbox makes me a little anxious.

Respond to a variety of things, from providing advice to a client who wants to set up a satellite office in Singapore, to reviewing a new visual financial reporting dashboard, to help engage creative with the numbers.

Lastly, I put the finishing touches to a presentation I’ll be giving at PRIA’s annual conference for agency owners. Understand how to set prices for services to ensure good profit margins!

6:00PM Off to the local for dinner with my little family and my brother’s identical little family. My brother and I both run businesses, our partners are best friends, we live on the same street and our sons are similar in age, but we really are quite different people. He thinks Brooklyn 99 is great whereas I know it’s rubbish.brooklyn-99-promotoonal-shot

8:00PM Home for an early night and one last check of emails, before my early morning cycle rolls around once again.


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