A New Year is about looking forward and planning what you are going to achieve in the next six months, the next year or perhaps the next five years. But a New Year is also about looking back to what you have achieved in the previous year or years. If you don't look back sometimes you can't see how far you have come.
Twelve years ago, on 2 January 2008, I took the plunge and moved from working at home into my own premises. Even though I had been doing bookkeeping and payroll for over 4 years I had still needed to work part-time. But in 2007 when I found myself being employed 2 days a week and working for myself the other 5 days I decided there was an opportunity to grow the business. It was a huge leap; the premises was quite large and had to be converted to office space and I really didn't know whether the business would develop or even need all the space. But sometimes that leap has to be taken. I believe you only have one opportunity at life and if you don't try to do something that you want to you may always regret never having tried. Of course I didn't leap without some planning - I am a numbers person after all! I knew that if it didn't work out I would be able to get a job which would cover the rent on the premises until the break clause in my lease.
The first few years were tough. Not tough in getting work but difficult balancing working in the business with working on the business (that's still a challenge) and finding the right people to work in the business. I had a lot of business skills but when you are doing it for yourself it is different. It is exciting because you get to decide everything; from choosing a logo to how your website is going to look, from deciding what your service offering is going to be to the type of clients you want to work with. But it is also challenging because the decisions are yours alone. I like those challenges because if a wrong decision is made I only have myself to blame!
The business has grown steadily over the years and our service offering has adapted to changes in our industry and in legislation. Payroll has changed significantly over the 16 years and small businesses setting up and managing a pension scheme for their staff was unheard of. Bookkeeping used to be desktop software with backups to floppy discs but now we have cloud accounts software with bank feeds and integrated software to automate much of the inputting. VAT returns used to be on paper, then moved to online and now go to HMRC straight from the software. Sixteen years isn't a long time in life really but looking back over that time it is amazing the changes that have occurred.
I am proud of what I and my team have achieved over this time. Our office space has easily accommodated our growth and provided us with meeting rooms for training and client meetings. We have had lots of people working in our team over the years, some experienced and some trainees who have stayed with us and become our experts. Three more trainees joined our team in 2019 and I am looking forward to seeing them continuing to develop their skills and knowledge throughout the coming year.
Looking ahead to 2020 we will continue to keep up with changes in our industry and in legislation. We will be working with new payroll software to provide a more up to date service for employers and their employees. We will be using additional software to enhance our bookkeeping service and to make life easier for our clients. We will be using our practice management software to enable us to communicate more effectively with our clients. And we will be able to provide a remote Xero training option for businesses who are not able to get to us for our face to face training.
One of the things we won't change this year though is our customer service. Our team have always been friendly and helpful to our clients and this will continue. We enjoy meeting our clients when they call in with their paperwork, we like being able to have a quick chat with them on the phone from time to time so we can learn more about them and their business and we are more than happy to answer their questions on the phone or by email.
We work with businesses who are just starting out and don't want anything to do with running a payroll or keeping their accounting records, to established businesses who are busy but don't have enough work to employ someone to do their bookkeeping and payroll. Outsourcing your bookkeeping, VAT returns, payroll and auto enrolment in 2020 could give you the time you need to develop your business further as well as the knowledge and experience that will ensure everything is being done correctly.
If your New Year planning is to free up some of your time, have peace of mind or just get some help from an experienced and knowledgeable team give us a call on 01722 341820 to see how friendly we are and how we can help your business.