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Kennedy Accountancy AccountingWEB Building success through community accountancy
Accounting-Excellence

Building success through community accountancy

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Karen Kennedy, winner of the 2023 Accounting Excellence New Firm of the Year Award, talks about how focusing on her community has yielded growth and success.

10th Jun 2024
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Understanding the impact that the community has on accountancy practices and businesses is paramount to success, believes Karen Kennedy, director of Kennedy Accountancy (pictured above).

When asked about the reason behind her firm’s strategy, she said: “Community is at the heart of everything we do.”

By focusing on the community and engaging with clients on a personal level, Kennedy’s practice provides value beyond accounting as well as making a positive social impact. As a result of this, Kennedy Accountancy won the 2023 Accounting Excellence New Firm of the Year Award.

Understanding the community 

Understanding the community and what they needed was key for Kennedy when she started her practice. She made sure that she understood what was missing from other accountants and what those around her wanted.

Kennedy combined her knowledge of the local community to form her practice’s strategy based on “human accountancy”, saying: “Our strategy is owning who we work with and that is based on community. We know who we work with, we know both our clients and potential clients really well because we live and work in this community too.”

Through her efforts to support local businesses and to organise events, Kennedy and her team have become integral members of the community and trusted advisors who are interested in more than just accountancy.

Supporting businesses 

Kennedy set up an initiative called the Kennedy Accountancy community credits scheme to support service-based businesses to get the accounting help that they need.

“There's a disparity in how businesses, up where I live, are funded. So grant funding goes to tourism businesses, or sustainable technology businesses and everyone else is overlooked and left to get on with it,” she said.

The community credit scheme allows businesses to get a subsidised accountancy package for the first year they work with Kennedy Accountancy, which helps them gain advice that they might not be able to afford and “by the time the first year is over, they’re well on their way to scaling a successful business”.

Not only does this scheme set Kennedy Accountancy apart from other firms but helps their community by supporting local businesses.

“I set it up to do my bit to the service-based businesses in my area, without which our fragile community would not exist,” she said.

Bringing the community together

Besides supporting local businesses, Kennedy arranges community open days, which are free events for everyone to attend, with the firm recently organising a community open day.

“In the morning there were two business talks, one was a social media masterclass run by a local business and the second one was a talk by Will Farnell. These were open to anyone in the community.

“In the afternoon there was food and networking which was more exclusively for our clients to socialise with each other. It was family friendly, we had a bouncy castle, face painting, football, local musicians were playing and free food and drink so parents didn’t have to find childcare.”

Kennedy said that she aims to ensure her clients know that they are cared about and that they are there to support them.

“It was an opportunity for our clients and their families to come together as a way to say thank you.”

She also mentioned that there hadn’t been many business events happening in her area which pushed her to organise something that her clients and the community could attend. 

Kennedy emphasised the importance of going beyond what is expected of you as an accountant. “I get excited about helping people build better businesses and lives,” she said.

Creating a sense of community is at the heart of her practice and by organising events like these, Kennedy supports both her clients and the community.

Creating a successful firm 

Kennedy Accountancy’s community-first strategy has led to its growth and success.

“The main way we have achieved growth is by doing a good job. We have an 80% referral rate which is testament to the way we operate,” Kennedy shared.

“You can have the slickest systems in the world but if your service is terrible, you’re not going to grow. It’s getting that distinction between growing quickly and scaling. We are trying to grow sustainably.”

By putting clients and the people around them first, Kennedy’s firm has been able to ensure a high standard of service which has led to “30% growth year on year but we have done so without detriment to the health of the employees”.

Kennedy Accountancy’s success continued at the 2023 Accounting Excellence Awards, with the win helping to increase the recognition of the firm.

“The award win has meant a lot, especially as we are from a small area. It helped with recognition massively in the industry by speaking at events and contributing to articles. It has also given us recognition locally within our own client base and for prospective clients.”

Could you be the next New Firm of the Year Award winner? Enter this year’s Accounting Excellence Awards (the deadline is 14 June) to have your chance at success. 

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