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Today's quote:

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Canberra Computer
Accounting Systems

Phone 2312304


Once at the forefront of my life, it's now on the back of my workshop door: Canberra Computer Accounting Systems' car door signage with which I drove through Canberra's streets for more than ten years.

It all started in 1985, my very own annus horribilis: I had returned from my last assignment overseas and, in anticipation of continuing from home the work for my former Saudi boss, settled in tropical Townsville.

The work never came - well, not until two years later when he offered me my own office in the Banque Des Echanges Internationaux's building on Avenue Kléber in Paris but by that time I had grown tired of the fickleness of Arabs and declined the offer.



With few other job prospects in Townsville, I hastily relocated to Sydney where I eventually took up the impressive-sounding job of "Internal Consultant" with Wormald International which required me to be 'on the road' - or rather 'in the air' as Wormald's operations were spread all over the world - for nine months of the year. After the first rush of adrenalin had passed, I remembered that I had just given up an even more highly-paid overseas job with even greater perks in order to live a 'normal', domesticated life.

I promptly resigned and moved to Canberra where I had taken my first tentative steps as a young migrant twenty years earlier. There I wrote computer software in the PICK language for a large mailorder business for the first twelve months - read more here. Personal computers were slowly making their presence felt, and I began to specialise in PC-based computerised accounting systems, selling and installing off-the-shelf ATTACHÉ, SYBIZ, NewViews, and other packages, and also writing custom-built solutions in TAS, under my registered business name Canberra Computer Accounting Systems.


# 7 Fanning Place, Kambah A.C.T. 2902


It was strictly a one-man business, just me and a telephone answering service. Those invisible girls at the answering service did a wonderful job for me as their ever-changing voices made my clients think they were dealing with a large computer software house. Only a few knew that I was working out of the spare bedroom in my house (later TWO spare bedrooms, with the wall knocked out between them).

Those were the days when an IBM computer with just 20MB of harddisk space retailed for around $8,000, when a monochrome monitor (you had a choice of green or amber display) cost some $700, and individual accounting software modules such as General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, or Inventory Control sold for close to a thousand dollars - EACH! Dot-matrix printers (remember dot-matrix printers?) sold for almost a thousand dollars and connecting several computers together with the help of LANtastic or NOVELL (those were the days before MS WINDOWS!) took hours and hours, if not days, and meant thousands of dollars in profit!



And there was very little competition as my combined expertise in accounting software, computer hardware, and networking plus a degree in accountancy wasn't matched by anybody. It took several years before accounting firms realised that there was a buck to be made by setting up their own PC consultancies.

Of course, all good things must come to an end: hardware and software prices kept dropping and with it my margins. I mean, who was going to stump up hundreds of dollars for installation and training after having bought a small-business accounting package such as 'Mind Your Own Business (MYOB)' for just $95 ?

And then came WINDOWS! Suddenly everybody was a computer expert and Canberra Computer Accounting Systems was no more! But it was fun while it lasted. Thanks for the memories!