“Taking a deep dive into the numbers is a not-so-secret passion for Kaleem and Madeeha, while finding their real joy in creating opportunities for the migrants. They are not just Business Partners but a lifelong companion”
The fearless couple, who revolutionised the South Australian Industry. Meet Kaleem Ulah and Madeeha Usman, the young entrepreneurs of Adelaide. When Usman, was offered her first role as an external auditor in PWC, within 20 days of her arrival in Australia, she was mentoring students of her age. The job was a well sought position, overseeing the external audits for a global organisation. While Kaleem, a well-trained engineer, found his passion in numbers. Being recognised by the official Institute of Public Accountants for his extraordinary vigilance and passion for accounting. Kaleem is known to be the support system for many SMEs. They are taking the accounting industry by storm. And, if you are visiting Adelaide, you are sure to be recommended by many!
This is the story of two most enigmatic leaders, who share the same vision but believe in bringing a different approach to the table and giving back to the community.
Going into Business…
In April 2016, Mr Ulah and Mrs Usman decided to start their own accounting firm. Every night, they would sit in their garage and brainstorm. Kaleem was quite popularly known by his Australian friends as Kaleem ‘Kal’. And one night, when Usman was trying to scribble and brainstorm, she was struck by an idea – And it was The Kalculators.
The Kalculators in two short years was supporting variety of entities – factory workers to multimillion – dollar turnover businesses such as pharmacies, retail stores, construction companies and service providers.
“Many of my clients are high net worth individuals, which we define as anyone with over $5 million in liquid financial assets. These clients are often either retired or run successful businesses including franchises, and managing stock portfolios and estates
When asked Usman, about the vision she brings,
“Everything we do, and the success we have, is due to our root vision of treating customers with transparency and equality”
While, Kaleem’s home-made tax form, was hitting a speedy road to success. Madeeha’s business vision towards creating a sustainable firm became the backbone of the organisation.
“I remember back in the day a client asked me why I was using my own Word printout. Everyone else was using computers and there I was with my piece of paper. But clients liked my resourcefulness, and years later my very first clients are still with me,” reveals Mr Ulah.
Two short years later, Madeeha and Kaleem were managing 10 offices throughout Adelaide and over 10,000 clients.
The couple owes their success to the fellow migrants. And believe, a leader must give back to the society to create a stronger root for the generations to come.
Kaleem and Madeeha have helped countless newcomers adjust to life in Australia.
“Most of my clients have migrated from other countries. They don’t know any accountants and they don’t know enough about the local laws. So, they need someone who can teach them and who can speak their own language,” says Mr Ulah.
“My wife and I thought, ‘we have the resources, we have everything, so let’s go and offer international students the opportunity to learn how to do tax returns’,” he explains.
“International students spend a lot of money on their studies, but finding employment for them, is very hard. The reason is that students are learning the theory, but lacking the practical experience,” says Mr Ulah.
“we have hired a professional trainer who trains the international students on how to use software and how to execute tax returns in real time. They also observe our accountants while they are on the job. Slowly we bring them to a professional level.”
“Once they complete it, we offer the dedicated ones a job in one of my offices,” he says.
So, eager to grow with their community, the couple allows international students to develop practical experience with the aim of easing their integration into the Australian workforce.
Madeeha, who is known to be the philanthropist by some, mentors for many, and Tax Lady by her team. Mentors students at the Oxford University, who are working towards their PHD dr.
Being recognised as one of the most powerful women in the accounting industry, Madeeha was honoured as an Ausmumpreneur in 2021. Usman encourages and supports young mothers to create a life of their own dreams.
Madeeha’s mentoring was a compelling one, she always conveyed the inspirational thought
– “If you fail don’t lose hope because as the wise saying goes, we can’t change the direction of the wind but we can certainly adjust the sales”
Yet being one of the most influential women in business, you can’t just dismiss Madeeha as an accountant. She is also the author of her recently launched book, “The Women Changing The World” – A story of her life and other powerful women, who choose to lead life the harder way – to set an example for women, who are still doubting their abilities to build themselves.
As per Madeeha, “This book is not only for women, but to inspire daughters, and sons, for the generations to come”
“Getting to the top at the expense of another woman is not a sustainable way to get ahead, and, most importantly, doesn’t help our case. The only way that women will be seen as equal in business is by making sure that there are more women accomplishing what they deserve in the workforce, and that takes encouragement”
“This book is not just stories, but real life journeys, relatable role models – where women in Australia are changing the world through entrepreneurialism, education, conscious living, advocacy and innovation”.
Madeeha and Kaleem both used their positions to encourage the young migrants to pursue their dream. As a result, The Kalculators earned recognition for “Diversity Inclusion” in 2021.
Employing over 100 young individuals from various cultural backgrounds. They believed opportunity is inclusive to all.
Also, being recognised as a finalist by Xero, a multimillion cloud accounting organisation. The Kalculators was recently recognised for its “Consulting service” and as a “Boutique firm” of 2021.
Creating ability through disability
Working with the clients in disability, they realised the provided service level suffered for the vulnerable. Even with the proper funding, many individuals with disabilities were unable to create an independent lives for themselves.
This is when, Care Assure was born…
Madeeha and Kaleem founded Care Assure – a disability housing and support provider in South Australia.
As the directors of Care Assure, we are not about making money; the role requires empathy and value creation. And working towards value creation is not easy, it is about constant quality assurance, to ensure your clients are being treated with care and respect.
Providing disability accommodations all over South Australia, Care Assure is recognised for the seamless service experience it provides.
Wielding Soft Power
As directors, it’s about more than the sales you do or the money you create; your clients are your centric value. In the current times of uncertainity, as organisations we must be sustainable, realistic and exercise quality control. The day you start working through hierarchy and consider yourself as a boss! You start to lose your ground as a leader.
Management should value transparency and respect. Not just profits or expenditures! Provide your team with the right resources and respect them for their own individuality. You will end up having a team of passionate individuals exceeding expectations.