Today we have a chat with Tony Kelly of A G Kelly Ltd. Let’s see how he runs a successful accounting practice using Clear Books.
Who are you and what is it you do?
We are a firm of Chartered Certified Accountants & Registered Auditors. We work for small companies mainly, with a turnover of anywhere between £5,000 per annum up to £5 million. Overall, a mixed and varied bunch of clients and people. Some of our clients are overseas, but they have operations in the UK also.
How long have you been using Clear Books and how did you come across the software?
About three years now. One of my clients needed an online system, and I did some research, and I recommended Clear Books as suitable for the job.
Why did you decide to become an accountant?
I became an accountant almost by accident. I was living in London at the time and responded to an advert about an accountancy evening course. One thing led to another, I went on the evening course, but then decided to switch to full-time study to speed up the process. I studied full-time for 3 years, qualified, worked for other people for 10 years and then set up my own practice 15 years ago.
What makes you different from other accountants?
Accountancy is like any other trade or profession. You have good and bad, with the majority falling somewhere in between. We offer a good service for a reasonable cost, giving the client value for money. There is a lot of red tape involved in running a business. It’s important to give clients peace of mind concerning their tax and accounts.
What kind of clients do you cater for?
We cater for all types of business, retail, wholesale, service industry etc. A typical business would be husband and wife business, with 3 or 4 staff. This is your average or typical business. However, there are many smaller businesses (self-employed etc) and some who are bigger, ie more staff and directors.
What added value do you bring to your clients?
I like to have regular contact with my clients, even if only by email. Sometimes, it is difficult to meet up as people are busy and there is travelling involved etc. If you have regular contact, you are like an extra member of staff for your client. Clients pay a fixed fee for their accounts/tax work, and there is no extra charge for help and advice by email, phone or meetings.
What’s the one top tip you’d give to someone thinking about starting up a business?
The best tip is to do a professional job and charge the proper fee for the work. You need to make a profit to stay in business, and you need to do a professional job to build up a good reputation.
What’s the one top tip you’d give to someone who’s moving from start up phase to growth phase?
Moving from start up phase to growth phase can be tricky, as there are all sorts of issues involved. More of everything, more cash flow issues and more red tape. Getting the right people on board is critical, as well as proper management of cash flow.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
There’s pros and cons to every job, but I think one of the great things about accountancy, is that you get to build long-term business relationships with your clients.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I still see myself doing the same job, no plans to change that. However, I think accountancy and tax services will change quite a bit over the next 5 years, with the introduction of “making tax digital”. This will mean more and more people moving to cloud services, such as Clearbooks. So, it means accountants will have to adjust the way they provide services to meet the new circumstances.
What’s the next client you want to on-board?
I am happy working with most people, but on this occasion, I would have to say I would like a Clearbooks client next.
What are your interests outside of the accounting world?
I like to spend some time with my family, as it is important to have a good work-life balance.
What will you be doing as soon as you’ve finished answering these questions?
After I’ve finished I will have my dinner and relax.