Interview with Sam Gooding - Founder of Gooding Accounts: Focusing on the customer

14th Apr 2021
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Gooding Accounts is an accounting and tax specialist firm that focuses on cloud accounting, improving efficiencies, and excellent communication. With a growing client base of over 1500, Gooding Accounts has grown from strength to strength due to its personable and friendly customer approach, and great use of technology.

We spoke to Sam Gooding, Founder of Gooding Accounts, about how technology has impacted the accounting industry since he launched the firm, the perception of payroll in the industry, and why helping clients should always be the main focus.

What motivates you in your role?

Helping people is my biggest drive. If your main focus is to help people, the profit kind of takes care of itself. We’ve built up a strong social media following on Facebook, and I push out quite a lot of videos providing advice. It has really helped us grow over the years.

How has technology helped your firm?

The advancement in digital and automation since we started 6 years ago has been mad. More and more people are heading that way. 

We use automation for bookkeeping, and we’ve saved hours on a monthly basis from doing so. You can process more data, pushing profit lines up, and it actually means you’re not working from 6am to 9pm. For people processing admin tasks, automation should make their life easier, meaning they can spend more time talking to clients and helping them. That’s where we’re headed. Clients like the communication and that’s what firms should be focusing on.

How do you see the role of the accountant changing?

What surprises me is the amount of accountants still focused on compliance. It’s a very traditional approach. You hear from them once a year, twice a year. Now clients want a closer relationship with their figures. They see their accountant as someone they trust. They even ask for recommendations for things like plumbers etc; they look to you for business advice rather than as an accountant. The old firms don’t buy into that yet; they think rolling the same model out will continue to benefit them, but it won’t last.

Cloud accounting packages like QuickBooks Online and Xero automate everything quickly, and give access to figures and information. Automation in the next 5 years will continue to grow. Accountants have got to find another niche to their bow, otherwise, what are people paying them for if they’re not spending their time processing?

How do you think payroll is perceived by most accountants?

Payroll is often seen as a service accountants provide because it’s part of the overall package for their clients. It’s quite difficult to make payroll profitable. You need to do a high volume to make money. And the problem is the government will come along with some new directive, and that can blow your whole business out of the water. For example, with the new Job Retention Scheme, payroll experts have had to apply the new furlough changes and put them on payroll reports very quickly.

Often, people don’t appreciate how crazy payroll in the world of practices really is. It's a very demanding area and clients always require changes and updates to payroll. Technology can help with this, but for some reason, the payroll technology used in the industry tends to be less advanced than the cloud packages that are used for accounting and bookkeeping.

Why do you think payroll software isn’t at the top of the priority list?

I don’t think a lot of firms have the time to sit down and look for a system and find the best solution: one that’s friendly and usable. Cloud payroll is promoted as much. QuickBooks and Xero are known for their accounting software because they’ve been around for a while and they’re very strong on their advertising. Budgets probably aren’t as big for payroll software, so they’re not as well advertised.

How accountants can use technology to make payroll services profitable

Exploring automation in the UK accounting space and the revenue opportunity it can bring for payroll, we interviewed 8 thought leaders about technology innovation and trends in the industry. Their responses, alongside research into the state of payroll in the UK, contributed toward our latest insights piece: How accountants can use technology to make payroll profitable.

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