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Class of 2019: Meet accountancy's newest stars

AccountingWEB kicks off this year's Class of 2019. Let's introduce you to the four new firms breaking into the world of practice this year.

12th Nov 2019
Practice Editor AccountingWEB
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Class of 2019
AccountingWEB
(L-R Della Hudson, Debbie Hancock, Ria_Jaine Lincoln, Andrew Sullivan, Matthew) Goude and Richard Hattersley

Ten years have passed since AccountingWEB last surveyed the new firm landscape. At that point, the profession was just beginning to explore the cloud. Since then, online accounting has gone mainstream. So what burgeoning trend is now inspiring today’s accountants to start their own firms?

Last month, AccountingWEB invited four new firms to Bristol to discuss the challenges and opportunities of starting a practice in 2019. 

There are many big decisions when starting a practice with none bigger than the reason behind starting up in the first place. In this introductory article, we’ll find out what has driven our Class of 2019 to start their own firm and learn their goals and aspirations for the future. Here is the Class of 2019:

Andrew Sullivan

Andy Sullivan

Name of firm: Complete

Location: Cornwall

Established: 2019

Staff employed: None. It's outsourced

Website: CompleteHQ.co.uk

Working from: Home

Services: Compliance and business planning/advisory

What made you decide to start your own firm? Change of circumstances

What have been the major challenges in establishing your firm so far? Cashflow and software implementation

What are your goals for the firm in the next 12 months? 100 clients (including director SA), £2,500 average fee and working only with clients I specialise in

Where do you see yourself and the firm in five years time? 100 business clients, £4,000 average fee, three working in a technical team and (maybe) an office 

Debbie Hancock

Debbie Hancock

Name of firm: Southbourne Accountancy and Business Services

Location: West Sussex (Southbourne)

Established: June 2019

Working from: Home

Website: Southbourneaccountancy.co.uk

Services: Cashflow, management accounts, self-employed, company accounts, and tax

What made you decide to start your own firm? Flexibility around childcare, ownership of my outcomes, lifestyle and seeing my son grow up and to give him opportunities.

What have been the major challenges in establishing your firm so far? Technology. I went to Accountex the week after I left employment. I was awaiting my practising license and it was full-on. I found Xero interesting and liked the sound of Float and Fluidly. Coming from industry also presented a challenge. I started without any leads in practice so it's been a learning curve getting to know people and gain clients. 

What are your goals for the firm in the next 12 months? To have enough clients to keep going for another 12 months. I have a budget to survive until December 2020 and my aim is to increase that. I also want to show people that accountants do more than just tax. 

Where do you see yourself and the firm in five years time? If I can survive the first 12 months then I can plan for the next four years! I don't want to be large but remain part-time and afford some holidays. Eventually, I would like to earn my part-time industry salary. 

Matthew Goude

Matthew Goude

Name of firm: Zincbooks

Location: Northampton

Established: June 2019

Staff employed: One

Working from: Home

Website: Zincbooks.co.uk

Services: Tax and accountancy services and specialising in working with trades

What made you decide to start your own firm? The desire to make a difference in peoples' lives by helping them grow their businesses.

What have been the major challenges in establishing your firm so far? Finding out how to find my ideal clients, building marketing plans and knowing which technology to use in the practice.

What are your goals for the firm in the next 12 months? To get back to the position I was in financially when I left full-time employment.

Where do you see yourself and the firm in five years time? Working out of an office with a team, revenue c.£500,000 per annum and ideally, working fewer hours!

Ria-Jaine Lincoln

Ria-Jaine Lincoln

Name of firm: Ria-Jaine & Co Ltd

Location: Milton Keynes (digital)

Established: December 2018

Staff employed: Subcontractors

Website: riajaineaccounts.co.uk

Working from: Office/home

Services: Bookkeeping, annual accounts, tax returns, personal tax, VAT, IHT, company secretary

What made you decide to start your own firm? Independence, control, family and health reasons. I also wanted to follow my passion which is also my niche: the beauty industry.

What have been the major challenges in establishing your firm so far? Managing every function alone, getting my social media started, choosing software and screening sales calls and emails. The other challenges were confidence and quickly adapting to opportunities.

What are your goals for the firm in the next 12 months? 100 clients, a solid working day routine and more beauty magazine columns and workshops.

Where do you see yourself and the firm in five years time? Established/regular training and workshops for small businesses, growth where I can take on team members and a best-selling book (which is currently in progress...)

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The Class of 2019 recorded a No Accounting for Taste podcast in Bristol last month. You can hear more on some of the challenges the new generation of startup practices have faced along the way and the opportunities that have empowered them so far in their practice journey. Click play below to listen to the podcast.

Stay tuned to AccountingWEB where over the coming weeks we'll find out how the Class of 2019 have navigated the challenges of starting a new firm, including marketing, finding their first client and choosing software.