Shahzad (Shaz) Nawaz manages AA Accountants in Peterborough, about 160 km north of London, England. He used to work for JP Morgan Chase Bank in London, but being a number in a large corporation wasn’t letting him do what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided to move back to the town where he was born and work with small businesses in Peterborough.
‘Changing people’s lives for the better’ is not just an expression to Shaz. It’s clearly a motivating force for him. Just listen to him talk about his accounting business: “Our company motto is: Passion, Inspiration, and Freedom. We’re very passionate about making a difference in the lives of our clients. We do that by inspiring them to achieve their aspirations. I’ve learned through the years that people talk about receiving motivation from others, but I’ve found that motivation is something internal. The only thing somebody else can do for you is to inspire you to take action. So that’s why we use the word ‘Inspiration’”.
“Freedom, because when most people start a business, what they’re really looking for is freedom. Freedom to make the choices that are important to them, their family, and their business. Ironically what ends up happening is they become a slave to their business. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year…so instead of aspiring to achieve the freedom they were looking for, they end up becoming slaves.”
“What we do at AA Accountants is help them to be clear on their purpose, and once they become clear on their purpose, we help them to find the freedom they were seeking when they actually started their business.”
What a wonderful outlook on life, from a man who has obviously put a lot of thought into what he does for a living! Shaz is always ready for new ideas too, which is why he liked the B1G1 concept the first time he heard about it. Introduced to B1G1 Chairman Paul Dunn in 2011 at a seminar in London, he signed up on the spot. Shaz then invited Paul up to Peterborough a few months later, where up to a dozen more B1G1 Business Partners came on board because of Shaz’s recommendation!
“There are so many options offered to you,” Shaz told us. “You don’t have to give to one particular cause. I have 8 team members in my office, and we’re all close to different causes for different reasons. For example, my father died of a heart attack, so I’m very keen to help people in the health sector. Other people in my office are keen to help people with education or with shelter or something else. B1G1 gives us the flexibility we need to make the right contributions to whichever sector or cause we’d like to contribute to.”
Everyone at AA Accountants dresses down every Friday, and they contribute a one pound note each week to the ‘Charity Box’. At the end of the month they put it all together and one team member is appointed to choose which cause they’ll give the £40 to through B1G1. And it is amazing what impact they can create with seemingly small giving like this.
Another popular B1G1 giving mechanism at AA Accountants is the email connection. For every email they send out, they donate water to Ethiopia. Clients like the idea that every communication they have with their accountant will make a real difference to African villagers who need water.
Why does Shaz work so hard at giving back? “I’ve found that givers gain at the end of the day,” he told us.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I can give to people, and I think it’s probably linked to my roots, being from Pakistan, a Third World country. I had the opportunity to be born in the UK while my parents were born in Pakistan. I appreciate the opportunity that God has given me to help others. I think that’s what really drives me to give.”