The Bookkeeper Q&A: Kathryn Frimond, Your Local Bookkeeperby
Kathryn Frimond explains why she has niched her bookkeeping practice to focus on sustainability.
Kathryn runs Your Local Bookkeeper, a bookkeeping practice in Surrey which focusses on supporting purpose-led, ethical, and sustainable businesses with their finances.
What did you do before you set up your bookkeeping practice?
I started my business, Your Local Bookkeeper, three years ago. I used to work in corporate banking in restructuring and recoveries. I left that role that role and decided to retrain as a bookkeeper, but was lured back to the corporate world and eventually started my practice when my son started nursery.
What made you move into bookkeeping?
One of the reasons I set up the business was to work my own hours around my son. My job in recoveries was morally quite difficult for me, calling in debt. So after working with a business coach, I decided to flip this and start working with clients to stop them ever getting into that situation.
Did you always plan on niching?
I started the business as Your Local Bookkeeper planning on finding clients locally, but things have developed and over time I’ve learnt that I need to do something that I really care about.
Did you have reservations about niching?
Yes I did, and I think other bookkeepers will wonder how they can get clients when they’re starting up if they rule clients out. What I think is important to remember is that you can have your ideal client and that gives you focus with your marketing and what you’re striving for, but you can have other clients as well. Your ideal client will attract more of your ideal client and as I’ve started marketing in that sector, more clients have been coming to me. Also clients who aren’t in that sector know that I’m not the right bookkeeper for them, but they will refer me to others. Just because I have a niche, it doesn’t mean I have to only have clients in that space. As long as I don’t take on a client who is an oil baron!
What’s your niche?
I look after purpose lead ethical and sustainable businesses, so businesses who want to make a change to the planet. It’s something I do in my personal life and I want to reflect that in my business.
Does having a niche mean you rule clients out?
I do have clients outside of that niche and they will remain my clients. But now I really feel like I’ve found my tribe. I work with people who have the same interests, ethics and goals. It makes me happy to know that there are people out there who are with me. I truly believe that businesses can make a difference to the planet, and that’s what I want to help people to do.
Regardless of peoples’ sector, if businesses want to make even the smallest difference, I’m happy to work with them and help them.
How does that work in real life?
All my current clients will tell you that I go on about sustainability, challenge them on what they’re buying and ask them whether they’ve thought about their carbon footprint in everything they do. Sustainability is built into everything I do. When I was recently interviewed for The Bookkeepers’ Podcast, I was aware of the carbon footprint of streaming that and ensured I planted a tree to offset the emissions.
Is sustainability built into your marketing strategy?
In my marketing, I focus more on those clients and I talk about the things they’re likely to engage with, but I’d also naturally be doing that anyway. As an example, I bank with Starling, and the main reason I do that is that they don’t invest in fossil fuels. If everyone was to move to a bank or pension provider that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, we could make a huge difference collectively so I talk about that on Instagram which is my main channel.
What’s working for you right now with marketing?
I started marketing in Facebook groups, in local business groups and on LinkedIn but I wasn’t getting anywhere, clients weren’t picking up on me, and then I made the realisation that I’m lots of sustainability and green, ethical groups anyway, why aren’t I selling myself to them. I joined a networking group in my local area run by somebody in sustainability and he introduced me to a few people and I then found some Facebook groups filled with people within my tribe. I don’t feel I’m really selling to them because they are my people and we’re naturally talking to each other. I’m running some workshops on cash flow and business basics for them and I’m also finding clients on Instagram.
What can bookkeepers and accountants be speaking to their clients about right now if they want to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
This is a global issue. Every single business should hopefully be interested in protecting the planet. We’ve just had a pandemic and nobody wants that to happen again, but with the way that humans work and the way we treat the planet, it’s possible. Unless we make a serious change, we’re going to come across these things time and time again, wild fires, floods, pandemics, they all affect businesses, but businesses can make a difference.
Bookkeepers and accountants can help their clients by asking them to consider:
- How ethical their bank accounts are - top rankers are Co-op, Starling and Triodos
- Thinking before they send an email or print
- Encouraging staff to cycle, walk, or lift share to work
- Turning off tech when they go home
- Bringing plants to the office to create better air quality
- Changing lightbulbs for more energy efficient ones
- Set up recycling stations
- Ditching water cooler cups and coffee cups
- Shopping local where possible and ditching Amazon
- Creating a sustainability plan
You can find out more about Kathryn Frimond at localbookkeeper.co.uk or connect with her on Instagram @your_local_bookkeeper.