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An image from the Special editorial report: The practice innovation handbook
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Collaborate to go your own way

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Despite being a sole trader, Sharon Baker of Kinder Digital Accountants, puts great stock in collaborating to work out the right strategy.

26th Sep 2023
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As a Xero MVP (most valued professional) winner and a regular awards finalist, Sharon Baker, MD of Kinder Digital Accountants must be doing something right. It’s been a tough few years and Baker admits that she has been treading water for some time but, with her recent rebrand, she is now raring to go again.

As a sole practitioner, Baker doesn’t need anybody else to agree her strategy but she does have a circle of trusted professional friends with whom she can discuss her ideas. “It’s definitely a collaborative space – you can’t do it on your own. Be guided by people who’ve been there before,” she said and the Kinder values include being curious and sharing knowledge. As well as this network Baker has regular accountability calls with her Clarity mastermind group and business coach Brad Burton. 

Baker shares her strategy widely with her team and they are welcome to add their ideas. The recent name change came about through a sticky note brainstorming session. Baker often includes her team in deciding the strategy.

For instance, when they recently lost a team member, instead of bemoaning the current recruitment crisis Sharon asked her team to focus on “What does this now make possible?” The team are encouraged to ask questions and none of them do things just because they’ve always done it that way. 

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Baker has the sole practitioner advantage of quick decision-making and action but also the benefits of a proactive team. 

Her ideal clients are professional service businesses where Baker uses her knowledge and experience as a successful business owner along with Clarity software to build a plan. She has the most success with those meeting monthly for regular accountability and gently nagging. “I love the joy on their faces when you show them what is possible and hold them accountable,” said Baker. As is often the case when working with ideal clients where you feel both purpose and passion, this is also profitable.

Other ideal clients are hospitality businesses as this is Baker’s own background so, once again, she is able to add real value for clients who are prepared to delegate all their finance to the firm and to meet regularly. 

Learn from people around you

Baker’s advice to fellow accountants is to be open-minded and learn from the people around you. She still remembers her first Xerocon (AKA “Hogwarts for accountants”) where she was introduced to other accountants who were a little further along the path. She recommends being curious and suggests that you find the people who inspire you. 

Baker achieved great success as an early adopter of Xero but that is no longer enough now that the high street is flooded with Xero accountants. It takes something special to stand out and Kinder Digital Accountants’ strategy is to look after its people and their families in order to make their clients even happier.

This article is an extract from our new editorial special report: “The practice innovation handbook”. Download it now to access expert advice and real-life examples to help you identify areas for improvement in your firm and make changes that will drive innovation and boost efficiency.

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