Scoring points: Steve Hui CPA
38 | CEO and founder | iFLYflat
As a young CPA, Steve Hui had worked in a travel agency, but it was only after more than 10 years at Macquarie Bank that he got the inspiration for his iFLYflat business, which helps clients maximise and use frequent flyer points.
“I set up an outsourcing operation for Macquarie in New Delhi and that’s when my love of business-class travel began.
"They sent me business class and I got the points and that’s when I had an inkling.”
Hui realised many people were not getting as much out of their frequent flyer points as they could, and classic financial planning principles could be the answer.
After taking redundancy from Macquarie, his concept turned into reality in late 2012.
For an upfront monthly fee, iFLYflat provides strategies that maximise a client’s frequent flyer and credit card reward points, then books the flights using those points to gain a discount fare.
“The points are quite valuable if you add them up. Testing the idea, it seemed most people had no clue how to manage their points.
"Accounting is a fantastic background and all based on logic."
"But it’s like paying super and investments and you have to make an investment to get the most from it,” says Hui.
He targets people in the small-to-medium (SME) business sector, because they spend a lot: and A$100,000 worth of spending means more than 100,000 points, which can result in a first-class air ticket worth A$8000 "if you know how to maximise them".
No one had really managed frequent flyer points in this way before so it took some perseverance.
“It means no one could tell you it doesn’t work, but I do listen to feedback and you can be going the wrong way, so that concern kept me on track,” he says.
His next step is hiring people so he can focus more on partnerships and greater penetration in the SME market. Throughout this, the value of Hui’s accounting experience has become very clear.
“Accounting is a fantastic background and all based on logic. A lot of businesses have an idea but don’t know how to make money. You have to have a lot of passion but if you can’t pay the bills it doesn’t work. But I’m an accountant and it’s natural to me.”
This article is from the May 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.
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