Total Accounting Kent

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Total Accounting Kent's best practice article

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 Total Accounting Kent is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.totalaccountingkent.

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | TOTAL ACCOUNTING KENT
Managing Director Ann
Spickett
Total Accounting Kent is an award-winning, small accounting
firm in Rochester, which has plans for expansion throughout
the southeast. Established in 2011, Total Accounting now
employs four people, following impressive client growth and a
burgeoning reputation. Managing director Ann Spickett discusses
how growth in the last three years has shown her the firm’s
potential, which has led to a second office in London.
Total Accounting is built on strong values and the ethos of providing exceptional
support to our clients by sharing our skills, knowledge and expertise. We have proven
ourselves as an effective support for small, growing businesses and are happy to
share the foundations of our growth with our peers.
We are committed to:
»providing a personal touch that builds a strong relationship of support with our
clients
»embracing the elements of change that face our industry as an early adopter
»and helping raise standards throughout the industry.
Starting out
After leaving my previous job to have children, I decided to change career path and
I began to train as a bookkeeper. Having initially worked for my husband, I then
started to support other clients, working from home.
Some clients want to know the whole picture, so we spend time with them looking
at their numbers and explaining, in plain language, what they mean. Others just need
an overview. By tailoring my service to offer my support in such a way, I soon began
to pick up more clients.
We make an effort to understand the motivation for our clients and how our support
would be a good fit for both of us. Our work is about maintaining a positive relationship
with our clients, so I do turn down potential clients who I do not think would be a good fit.
We now have over 100 clients on our books, and we work at different intensities for
each of them. Currently there are four employees, including myself, who work flexibly
based on their own personal situation. It is a relaxed and supportive atmosphere to
work in, and this is visible to all the clients who come to meet us. Work-life balance
is important for me and my staff, and, again, this has helped foster a productive and
fun culture in the office.
Growing up
The first six months after I started out were difficult. I had set up a website, but it
wasn’t until I was able to build a decent reputation that we really attracted new
clients. As we built our reputation, we began growing far faster, primarily as a result
of referrals. I also received a lot of poor advice, which did not help me create a clear
vision and often confused matters.
AT A GLANCE
TOTAL ACCOUNTING KENT
»Managing Director:
AnnSpickett
»Founded in 2011 as Total
Bookkeeping Kent
»Based in Rochester, Kent
»No. of employees: 4
»Services: Accounting support
for business owners
»Won the Growing Business
Award from the Bookkeepers
Alliance
co.uk
Total Accounting Kent
23TOTAL ACCOUNTING KENT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
As the business became more successful
I took on a business mentor to help me
understand what I wanted to achieve.
This proved to be an excellent decision
and he helped me create a clear vision
and plan that I have since delivered on.
The growth we have experienced in
the past three years has been beyond
my expectations, and it has given the
business momentum. I place support at
the centre of the business and I always
advise clients to get the support they
need. I therefore followed my own
advice. Without my business mentor, I
am not sure if I would have been able
to achieve what we have so far or built
the foundation to grow further.
Since 2015 I have hired three other
staff members, moved into an office
in Rochester and begun investing in
effective marketing and branding. Our
strategy going forward is to continue
growing, but at a sustainable rate that
allows us to retain our personal service.
We have just opened another office
in London, which I will oversee from
Kent. I will take lessons from my
own experience, and by hiring the
right people and the extension of our
systemised processes, I am confident
the expansion can be successful.
Beyond that, I am looking at expansion
in Surrey and perhaps elsewhere.
Hiring and the challenges of
change
On a micro scale, recruiting people
who will be a good fit for the business
and our clients has been one of
our biggest challenges. It has been
frustrating and time consuming to
receive applications from people who
do not have the requisite skills or falsely
claim to be experienced individuals with
the skills required. Retaining the best
bookkeepers can also be hard as many
consider setting up their own practice
when they have managed to build a
client base. The struggles I experienced
hiring nearly caused me to stop my
growth plans altogether; however,
I persisted and I’m pleased that my
current team are excellent.
On a macro level, an ongoing challenge
is remaining ahead of our competitors
with regards to legislation changes
and the technology that have hugely
impacted our industry. Tax legislation is
ever changing and the announcement
of Making Tax Digital is one recent
example. Our role is to be aware and
prepared for any potential change
that may impact on our service, or our
clients, and react accordingly.
Another example is the impact of
GDPR. We have always been aware
of our responsibilities for the data we
hold and process, but it has still proved
a challenge to establish how we can
minimise the impact for our clients,
while also raising awareness with them
of their responsibilities.
New software and technology have
brought much change to our business.
Cloud software, OCR technology,
open banking and new software that
provides solutions to our previous
problems have all helped bring new
efficiencies to our business, further
improved our collaboration with our
clients, developed our operational
excellence and enabled us to show how
our clients can help do some of their
own record keeping such as copying
receipts. Overcoming such challenges
and embracing the benefits created
by disruptive change have created the
foundation for our growth.
»MOVING FORWARD
Factors such as our team ethos, our client focus, embracing advancing
technology, software development and proven operational processes will
contribute to our future success and that of those who operate a similar
business. Within three years we aim to have the London office, running
independently, with someone heading the business who shares my vision,
ambition and commitment to our clients. Beyond this, we plan to launch
further offices on the same model and continually grow the team in Kent.
We will continue to adapt to any further change in the industry, as we have
seen the benefits of being an early adopter. Change has been greater in
the last few years than the decades before and will continue to come at a
pace, but we will be ready to embrace the opportunities presented. Smart
hiring, continual operational development and maintaining our attention
to a quality personal service are all key aspects of our plan for expansion.
The Rochester team after
meeting reporters at the
Medway Messenger
I will take
lessons from my
own experience,
and by hiring the
right people and
the extension of
our systemised
processes, I am
confident the
expansion can
be successful

www.totalaccountingkent.

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister