Business plans in practice: Clarand Accountants

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In an earlier article, we spoke to Principa's founder Ric Payne about the benefits business planning and modelling can bring to a firm. Here Claire Priestley explains how the process has worked for her growing practice Clarand Accountants.

Based in Corbridge, Northumberland, Clarand offers tax and accounts services to all types of businesses. The firm's has two partners, Claire Priestley and Claire Yates, and recently took on an apprentice AAT student.

Both Priestley and Yates focus on providing a personal service to clients, and don't mind being contacted outside of normal office hours. They use Exact Online cloud accounting software to work collaboratively with clients on their accounts. 

"We don’t just say it, we do it," said Priestley. "Providing great accounts and business support is more than just looking back at last year’s numbers and meeting just once a year." 

The two founders wrote out their business plan before the firm started, with help from other people they trusted.

  • Devising the plan
  • Keeping track of the plan
  • How business modelling goes "one step further"
  • Offering services to clients
  • A win-win model 

For more in this series, see: 

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About Rachael White


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15th Jul 2014 18:15

It would be interesting to know how many accountants actually did a business plan before starting out in practice. I did a few 'back of the envelope' calculations and had a vague idea of target market and just cracked on with it. I think the approach taken by Clarand is the right way to do it i.e. keep it a living document, not just using it to start a business but to grow the business as well.

In a previous job I looked at about a 1000 business plans of clients over a number of years and I can say in only one case was the business plan a reflection of what subsequently happened in the business. This left me with an impression that really in most cases they were a waste of time. However if it is a living and dynamic document that changes with the business then it is a worthy exercise I think.

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16th Jul 2014 09:26

An organic document

I completely agree .... there is no point in preparing a business plan which is then shelved or not looked at again for three years.  Is should grow and change, and reviewed and reflected on as the business grows on a regular basis. 


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17th Jul 2014 14:06

Keep on truckin'

We drew up a business plan and business model and I'm proud to say that it's reviewed every 6 months and we've hit every target and surpassed a few. I find it helps to keep you motivated and hungry for more. It's too easy to settle when the business gets bigger and life gets easier, but the business plan sets the bar higher and higher.

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18th Jul 2014 21:45

Business plan

I am going through a re launch for my business so I am completing a Business Plan this time

But not using spreadsheets but a business planning model with templates all the fancy stuff in a library

Also it should interface with the new accounting package I intend to buy the licence for, so can produce meaningful mgt accounts almost automatically

Also intend to use my business plan as training so I intend to roll this out as part aof the service I give to my new clients

Agree with points above especially the one mentioning team building I hadn't thought of that

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24th Jul 2014 15:02

Great article Claire. Thanks for the insights.


Veshali Patel.

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