Practice Insight: Cheryl Sharp from Pink Pig Financials

6th Oct 2020
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This month we caught up with Cheryl Sharp, founder of Pink Pig Financials, a fully cloud-based accounting practice based in Essex. The firm specialises in helping working parents and small business owners to get the best from their businesses, while also enjoying time with their families and achieving a great work/life balance. 

a photo of cheryl
 

Helping parents to build their business

“I started my own firm in 2014, mainly because I needed a job that was flexible around my kids and other responsibilities. Helping other parents in business is something that grew over time, and it’s become our own little niche now.

As we grew, I took on other staff who were parents and we’re now a team of five, with four staff and my husband, James.” 

As a parent, I knew the ‘mum and dad guilt’ of working, struggling to be present and to be there for your kids, while also building a business and aiming to be successful. You want to do both. 

We connect with our clients because we all understand the challenges of being parents and entrepreneurs. The pandemic and getting through lockdown has made people a bit more human.

Clients might see your kids walking past in a Zoom call, and that makes you more relatable and helps us build stronger relationships with clients. We can help clients better because we understand them more as people – that’s helped us a lot!”

 

Putting Senta at the heart of the practice

“I first started using Senta back in Christmas 2018. I remember it well because I was in bed with the flu and had to try and port everything over before the year-end. I’m so glad I did – Senta is now the heart of our practice, and completely changed how we work.  

Before switching to Senta, I didn’t know if we were meeting our targets. Now, I feel on top of things and I’m constantly tweaking and updating things as we improve the practice. I’ve been on the phone to the Senta support team a lot to get their advice, and they’ve been awesome.

The integrations with Senta are so helpful. We have it linked up to Xero, Companies House, Xavier Analytics, Float, Chaser and GoProposal. I love how it integrates with GoProposal. It pulls the info through, does the proposal, adds in the services and the workflows, and even sends out the intro emails.

I’ve just moved our website to WordPress, and now I have Gravity forms, so when someone fills out an enquiry form, it automatically adds them to Senta. 

It’s really helped connect everything up and streamline our workflows.”
 

Focusing on value-add services during lockdown

“Until a year ago we were just compliance, but working with The Gap, Float and Chaser and people, we’re making advisory services more of a focus. 

Clients are rarely looking for value-add work, but through conversations and the processes we have in place, we can then add those advisory services when they need them. So they might say ‘I have no money and can’t pay people’ and we can get to the bottom of it.

That’s when we can introduce onboarding that teaches the basics of finance or cashflow training, and we use Senta to manage that workflow. 

Over lockdown, we didn’t take on extra clients, but we had more financial performance and advisory work with existing clients. Helping clients to learn about cashflow was vital, with so many businesses on reduced revenues. People now get it and can see why positive cashflow is so important.

The furlough scheme has been a nightmare for accountants, but it’s helped a lot of companies get through tough times. Things like the furlough scheme and the Government’s bounce back loan have helped take some of the pressure off for people.”

 

Planning for the future of Pink Pig Financials

“Your business goals should be tied in with your personal goals, and I have a huge personal goal. As a family, we want to move to Cyprus, buy a house and do that in the next five years.

So, to achieve that, I need to double the business turnover, take on another member of staff and push our growth. We’ll stay a remote firm – we gave the office up at the start of the virus – but the goal is there to double turnover and profits and hit the target.”

It’s meant a year of hard work, working on processes, workflows, building it all in Senta and having the services ready to send to market. But we’ve got the foundations now and clients are starting to see the value in these advisory services.

In five years time, I see us being a team of six or seven, all working around kids, family and hobbies. I want us to be a really flexible firm, where we have great relationships with clients and help them to achieve their personal goals.

And I want everyone to be happy – enjoying our work, and our clients enjoying working with us. That’s the real spur for me.”

 

Pink pig financials logo

 

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