Consortio Chartered Accountants

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Consortio Chartered Accountants is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Director Chris Viles
Formed in 2015, initially to provide interim management
services, in five years Consortio Chartered Accountants has
grown into a full-service offering. It now provides a range
of accounting and business support services from its base in
West Yorkshire. Consortio’s team believe that accountants can
play an important role in supporting businesses to grow and in
creating financial success for their clients. Director Chris Viles
shares his strong belief that not all accountants are created
equal, and that choosing the right firm can be the difference
between making an investment and incurring a cost.
At Consortio, our ethos is simple: we exist to make the lives of our clients easier. We
firmly believe that SME business owners have much better ways to occupy their time
than preparing their accounts. The majority run their own business because they are
pursuing a passion, doing something they are good at and making a difference to
their own customers. Maintaining their accounting records is an unwelcome obligation
that results from being their own boss. Many don’t like the task and an even greater
number are poor at doing it. Our aim is to help clients manage their finance function,
so they have more time to do what they do best: growing their business. We create
tailored support packages based on the genuine requirements of our clients.
Adding value
The accountancy profession has long suffered the stigma of being dull and unable
to add real value to a client’s business. It is perceived as dealing only with the twin
dreaded evils of tax and compliance. I would argue that if these are the only services
a client receives from their accountant, they have made a poor choice and should
look elsewhere. An accountant can and should provide much more than that.
Where else can you obtain the advice and real-world experience of an advisor who
deals with the large and varied range of clients that is typical of anaccountant?
I am frequently asked how we aim to make a difference for our clients. For me,
it comes down to two key issues: our experience and the interest we take in our
clients. I formed Consortio following a career in the restructuring profession,
dealing with distressed businesses and their stakeholders, including lenders and
HMRC. At first glance this may seem so far removed from the world of the average
SME business owner that they question how I can help them.
I argue, however, that my experience gained from working with companies in a
broad range of industries across the entire business life cycle can help them grow
their own enterprise. I’ve witnessed first hand what can happen when a bank
manager puts a case into the business support team, or HMRC isn’t paid on time –
and it isn’t pretty. I regard one of my key roles as helping clients avoid the pitfalls
that can damage their business and destroy their hard work.
»Director: Chris Viles
»Established in 2015
»Based in Pudsey, West Yorkshire
»Services: Accountancy,
business advisory services,
financial planning
Consortio Chartered
Understanding goals
The second area where we aim to
make a difference to our clients is in
terms of progressing their own goals.
We invest time in understanding what
they want to achieve and working
with them to create a plan to ensure
they stand a good chance of success.
Every first meeting with a potential
new client starts with a general
chat, not about their business or the
services they may require from us, but
what they want to achieve from their
business. For some, it may be a simple
lifestyle business which suits their
current needs.
Others may want to build a substantial
business to sell in the future, while
some may want to create a legacy
to pass on to family members Their
individual goals don’t matter, but
our understanding of them matters
significantly. Only by recognising what
they want to achieve, and helping
to create the strategy to reach their
goals, can we add real value to a
I often get asked to define our target
client, as if this depends on level
of turnover or industry sector. At
Consortio, we don’t define our target
client by these criteria, but rather by
the attitude and aspirations of the
business owner. If they want to achieve
success and recognise that paying for
an accountant should be regarded as
an investment, not a cost, we want to
work with them irrespective of their
size, sector or geographic location.
Beware what you pay
Technology has, and will continue
to have, a profound influence on
the accountancy profession and as
a business we must remain vigilant
to the threats and opportunities it
presents. However, I don’t subscribe to
the view that technology will eliminate
the role of the small firm accountant.
Increasingly, I am faced with the
question from clients: “Why do I need
to pay for your services when I can
get an app on my phone to do the
same job?” My sanguine response is:
beware what you pay. An app on your
phone or PC may make it easier to
invoice customers on the go, capture
information from receipts and even
submit your tax return. However, it
will be a long time before an app
can replace the benefit of speaking
to an experienced professional about
the challenges facing your business
or how you finance that next major
We are fortunate at Consortio to
enjoy a steady stream of new clients
and even more so that this growth
is generated from word-of-mouth
referrals and speaking to potential
clients about their business in general.
Our largest client to date came on
board following an informal chat with
the business owner about research and
development tax credits, his business
being a prime candidate. When I
looked surprised at his admission that
his existing accountant, by no means a
small firm, had never raised the subject
with him, the client asked for my
details and joined us six weeks later. I
firmly believe accountants are not all
created equal. Finding one that takes
a genuine interest in a client’s business
and providing a proactive service will
always add real value.
Supporting SME
business owners
achieve financial
At Consortio,
our ethos is
simple: we
exist to make
the lives of
our clients

This article was sponsored by Consortio Chartered Accountants. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.