Expansion advise - Taking on extra support

I'm a sole practitioner, who is looking to expand, so looking for advice from those who already have

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Hi All,

I'm a sole practitioner, who set up alone in 2014.  Everything has been ticking away and I've slowly built up the business and managed everything alone. However, in recent months, I've been having to turn away potential new clients, as I simply haven't got enough time.  

I'm thinking of getting in some support in the way of a PT bookkeeper/administration role just a few mornings a week, for whom I would have oversight.  I already have someone in mind for this.  I'm looking for guidance on how this is best approached/structured and also things I need to look out for, from anyone who has gone down this route.  Is there anything I need to consider for my practicing certificate (with ICAEW), PPI, data protection, etc.

Also, we're wondering if initially whether to set up on a contractor basis or employment basis, so thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

 

Replies (7)

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By Hugo Fair
13th May 2023 11:13

Personally I'd start by asking some of these questions of your PB (ICAEW?).

But also find yourself a local mentor ... or, failing that, try talking to your nearest Chamber of Commerce.

It's not that the issues are particularly complicated (or unusual), but there are so many variables (not least with regard to yourself and your preferences) that a public forum will make massive (possibly incorrect) assumptions ... and doesn't leave room for the most productive element (the to-and-fro of conversation & ideas).

Good luck.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Jan CM
15th May 2023 13:07

Thanks Hugo. That's really useful advise. I spoke to an ex sole practitioner earlier today and she recommended PB as a starting point also - she is ICAEW also, and said they gave some useful advise in those earlier days of expanding. So a call is next on my list to follow up on.

Thanks again

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By Beancounting
13th May 2023 12:16

Before doing that, and inevitably increasing your cost base, I think I would ask myself whether you are charging as much as you can your all of your services? If not then now would be a good time to push prices up. Any clients leaving can be compensated for by new work (which you are currently having to turn away). I wish I had done that 20 years ago when I was in a similar position. It might have made what followed simpler.

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Replying to Beancounting:
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By Jan CM
15th May 2023 13:10

Thanks Beancounting, that's really useful advise - I have been quite poor at regularly increasing fees in the past (again due to time), but am now starting to process this, particularly with the cost of living increases, it seems a sensible time to do this.

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By Catherine Newman
13th May 2023 18:27

I have sent a PM as I see an opportunity for both of us.

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By Winnie Wiggleroom
14th May 2023 06:12

Its all about levels of work and playing to your strengths, when I first started out I very quickly realised that it made no financial sense for me to be spending a few hours a week doing all the jobs like book-keeping and payroll when I could pay someone else a decent wage to do that, because for them that was all they wanted to do, whereas my strengths lie in a different area.

Of course that has to be the right person, years later I can say that I have had some very bad employees that caused nothing but trouble but the ones that fitted have become more like partners and we have now worked together for many years, each happy in our different roles.

Apart from being competent and a quick learner, my advise would be that you need someone who wants part time (flexible) hours, not ambitious and willing to do a bit of everything, for me the ones that have stuck with me are people that I already knew before we worked together.

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Replying to Winnie Wiggleroom:
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By Jan CM
15th May 2023 13:14

Thanks Winnie. This is exactly where I am at the moment - I think getting someone to do the less technical work makes perfect sense to my practice. The individual I have in mind is someone I know personally and seems keen for a flexible role - hours/tasks, as this works for their personal circumstances.

Thanks again

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