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Could I get a pep talk please?

Could I get a pep talk please?

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As many of you know, I sold my high street practice last year to become a full time mum and I've kept a handful of clients, some of whom need a fee review.

I've gone from confident businesswoman to insecure mum and can feel myself slipping into the "well I don't have much in the way of overheads now and I'm just doing this part time so I can't really justify charging more than £20 an hour for everything" mentality. I'd be the first to kick ass if I heard someone qualified and experienced say that, yet here I seem to be.

For completeness, the plan is to tick the busines over for a few years then ramp the business back up when the little one is school sized.

Also, how does one find one's work mojo again? I think I chucked mine out with a dirty nappy...


Replies (17)

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By mwngiol
08th Apr 2016 13:53


Maybe take this as an opportunity to realise that accountancy is a load of boring old nonsense which will only get worse with the impending enforced digitalness, and use the time to think of something more fun and worthwhile to do when your clone goes to get educated.

Hmm seems I need a pep talk of my own...

Thanks (5)
Hallerud at Easter
08th Apr 2016 14:01

Could not agree more

mwngiol wrote:

Maybe take this as an opportunity to realise that accountancy is a load of boring old nonsense which will only get worse with the impending enforced digitalness, and use the time to think of something more fun and worthwhile to do when your clone goes to get educated.

Hmm seems I need a pep talk of my own...

Could not agree more.

Am currently in Sweden, there is a spruce that needs felled (starting to block the light to our Altan) and my Stihl is sitting in the understair cupboard whispering to me, I can hear its siren call and keep considering that I should not bother flying back tomorrow, I could just stay here, I never wanted to do this job in the first place!

I... I wanted to be...


Thanks (5)
By cheekychappy
08th Apr 2016 14:02

So you’ve downsized to have a lifestyle business for a few years. But you are putting yourself in a position where you will soon be a busy fool?

Charge the going rate. Your costs are of no concern to your clients.

Thanks (4)
By stepurhan
08th Apr 2016 14:06

You're worth it

You charge what you charge because you know that's what your knowledge is worth. It's the value of the knowledge and skill that clients are paying for, not your operating costs. If you start charging peanuts now then, when you choose to ramp up the business later you'll be stuffed. You don't want to work with people that don't value you, so don't do it.

You've done amazing things in the past (you somehow convinced me to travel cross-country for a photo shoot once). You will do amazing things in the future. You are almost certainly doing amazing things now by bringing up a child properly. Go you!

How was that?

Thanks (4)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Apr 2016 14:25


£20 an hour?

I pay my assistant more than that. 

Buck up your ideas Monsoon, even with a 'baby brain' you are worth more than my assistant.  Who - and this is true - knows a lot less than I do about tax.  And that, my friend, is not very much at all. 

Also if you are working short hours, the last thing you want to do is low paid stuff, so kick out the bookkeeping and the payroll, and stick with premium paid work.

 Ie 5 ltd co contractors on your books = £6k per annum with minimum fuss, and all your need is TaxFiler and some PI insurance and are good to go. 



Thanks (1)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Apr 2016 14:28

Edited to add: babies are ace. I really miss ours being babies and learning to walk and stuff. Really hard work at the time (especially for the wife who did 95% of it!), but great fun too. 

They are now in school, plus side less time dealing with poo, minus side they now talk about it all the time instead.  

Kids are ace, spend as much time with them as you possibly can.

which means, no low value stuff, high value work only!

Thanks (1)
By BroadheadAccountants
08th Apr 2016 14:35

PEP Talk

Could be time for some CPD, PEPs were replaced with ISAs!

On a more serious side your costs aren't a concern to your clients whereas your continued attention and quality is.  This comes at a price and there must be fair come-backs for when you increase your prices...general inflation, the complexity of work increasing etc.

Thanks (1)
Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
08th Apr 2016 15:26

Thanks guys :)

Mwngiol, shh. I know. If I'd found the alternative I'd have done it already!

Thanks everyone, that's what I needed to hear. It's given me the perspective I needed :)

Kids are totally ace, my one especially ;) Except when he's screeching at the dogs and tipping the water over the floor...... oh wait, he's still ace even then.

Client list review is on the cards :)

Thanks (0)
Time for change
By Time for change
08th Apr 2016 16:39

From experience, what I can say is

make the most of your little one(s) as time has a great way of taking them away from you. They so quickly turn into adults and you wish you could turn the clock back.

I'm approaching 60 this year and, as well as having two fabulous grand-daughters, I also have a son and a daughter.

My daughter phoned at lunchtime, after she'd woken up from her sleep, following a nursing night shift, on critical care. Although the work has its fair share of tragedy, she absolutely loves it and find it so rewarding. My son is also our postman at the office, working for Royal Mail, They are both; happy in their work and enjoy life. What more could a father ask for, apart from another 50 years to enjoy them! I'm still one of their first ports of call, if they need reassurance and, that for me, says it all.

From past experience and, particularly in the self-employed/accountancy field, you can enjoy bringing up your family, find time to take them for health checks, inoculations etc, play areas and still work in your own practice.

You've been there before and done well. You can do it again, I'm sure.

Thanks (2)
By Maslins
08th Apr 2016 17:33

Anyone who builds a business to a situation where it can be sold deserves kudos.

You've proved you can be (financially) successful, but are now focussing on something else.  This doesn't make you any less successful now.

Thanks (1)
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By tom123
08th Apr 2016 18:28

Only an accountant..

Hi Monsoon - remember only an accountant would worry about price being some kind of mark up on overheads.

All other trades would tend to try and pitch at the 'market' price.

I could say I don't ask my plumber his running costs - but I'd be lying, as he's my brother :)


Don't forget to keep posting on Aweb - set up a blog!!

Thanks (1)
By JimH
08th Apr 2016 19:26

Ohhh Monsoon
It's some of your posts on this site that helped inform my home practice structure and fees when I set up not quite 3 years ago. Only one prospect has ever had the cheek to say that someone down the road is offering a lower price than I because they have low home working overheads. Would I match because they really wanted me. Bye bye, said I. Don't even go there.

Can you not cite the latest couple of rounds of tax changes to inform your favoured clients that, in common with other quality advisory practices, you are having to review fees to maintain the fantastic service they have long valued from you?

Are you sure it's baby brain, rather than feeling jaded and p****d off with now having to be the explainer of all the rapidly changing tax landscape, just at the time you wanted to relax into enjoying family/work balance?

Thanks (1)
By oor001
08th Apr 2016 22:23

Hi Monsoon

Its been months and months since I have browsed AWeb - well done on successfully selling your practice!

And of course I echo what everyone else has said !!!


Thanks (1)
By Richard Willis
09th Apr 2016 11:37

Your worth is in your skill
I once, through health insurance, visited a consultant surgeon who had a consulting room attached to his house. Of course he charged MUCH less for his services (NOT!). I was paying for his skills, acquired through his years of hard work; not for his running costs.

Thanks (2)
By morgani
15th Apr 2016 14:06

Selling short
I can sympathise with your thoughts and what you want to achieve and where you want to go.

My thought having worked from home and charged less would be the following:-

If you can set up a seperate space for working ideally another room and not in the house but easier said than done. It just means you can be at work without having to really go anywhere. Too many distractions if its in the living room!

As for fees the others are right. Don't sell yourself short. You could easily manage £20 - £30k of fees without it taking over your life and the profit would be pretty high.

Again as others have said drop the payrolls, VAT, bookkeeping where you can as these tie you into regular work. If you get a set of accounts in early and don't fancy working for a week then so what. Nothing changes and you get it sorted later. It also means the admin side will be low and you won't feel you are being cheapened.

If you get the pricing right now it will be easy enough to upscale in if and when you want to.

Thanks (1)
By Jakarmi
15th Apr 2016 15:21

Would your clients accept you doubling your charges if you moved out of your home and into an office if it was the other way around?

I guess the question "why the .... should I pay more for you to have an office?" would be a common response from the clients in this situation so why should you lower your fees if going back home?

Thanks (1)
Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
15th Apr 2016 15:28

Thanks guys.


You're all right, of course. I suppose part of it is not feeling like I'm worth what I used to be, because I feel a bit out of touch since I went on maternity, but I just need to immerse myself in it more, and do a bit more CPD, I know what I need to do.

I really do appreciate you all taking the time to comment, it really has helped me get into a more business-oriented mindset, and I'm making plans and getting organised.

It's true what they say about kids changing your life. My business was my baby and I never imagined me selling it, ever. Then I got a human baby...!

And yes, I need to make the most of him, he's growing so fast!

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