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Mark Telford | 1 Man Army… Solopreneurs Rule.

Updated: Feb 16

I always wanted to start my own business, but never knew what to do. I never had any ideas that really jumped out at me.

After I qualified, left practice and was working in industry, rising through the ranks to become a Group FD I’d often be in meetings with suppliers, service providers, consultants and contractors feeling quite envious of the people who were running their own businesses and were in control of their destiny.

I wanted to be in their shoes, running my own business. As an accountant working in industry – the real world, I gained great insights into how businesses really worked, from the ground up and all the way through the process from product development to production to marketing to sales, then on to customer care, accounts and HR.

I really understood how all the functions were linked, how they all relied on each other. How it was important to make directors and senior managers in those departments understand the impact their actions had on the financial performance of the business. Being able to explain in numbers the impact of delays in production, increase in sales price, cuts in the marketing spend.

Accountants with commercial experience have so much to offer SME’s and OMB’s – the sort of businesses who have been starved of financial information and business support from accountants whose only work experience is working in an accountancy practice and preparing accounts and tax returns.

Right now in 2019 we are seeing a fundamental shift in the balance. The improvements in technology have made far more and much better financial information available to business owners – the cloud has brought real time accounts systems which enable tech savvy, commercially focused accountants to deliver the level of service to businesses which far exceed the service levels of ‘traditional’ accountancy firms, those who haven’t embraced the cloud, don’t have the commercial experience and aren’t agile enough to respond quickly to changing technology and client’s needs and expectations.

But all is not lost.

There is a new breed of accountant on the scene. Those with the commercial knowledge and experience and have the tech savvy to deliver and exceed client expectations. These accountants are often sole practitioners going it alone or with a small team of employees and freelancers and utilising outsourcing to free up more time to deliver high-value services to clients.

These accountants use their size as an advantage, are at the forefront of service offerings, embracing new technology and keen to take client service to a new level.

They’re also able to take advantage of the huge disruption that will be caused by the digitalisation of the tax system in the UK.

They will step in to provide the service that businesses need.

What do these new accountants look like?

Two examples for you – Richard Sykes at Cloud CFO and James Middleton at Elevate Accounting.

Watch this space, these two and many more like them will be driving the profession forward while many older, cumbersome, flabby accountants who have got fat on a diet of desktop software and sausage machine service will slip back and fall at the wayside.

The changes Rich and James are bringing are similar to those I looked to introduce back in 2012 when I started my practice. That was the early days of cloud in the accountancy sector but the changes that were about to happen could be seen by those who were open-minded and forward-thinking enough to look for it.

It’s a huge opportunity now which sole and small practice accountants need to exploit. It will enable them to make a big difference to business owners and enable themselves to have the practices they really want.

After growing my own successful practice using the cloud, going through the growing pains and coming out the other side, I’m now working with accountants like Rich and James to help them run the practices they want, how and when they want. Often just providing the insight, guidance and accountability they need to make the most of this great opportunity.

So, the message to any accountants working in industry…looking enviously at those suppliers and contractors running their own businesses…you know what to do…

With Mark’s help, you can Run The Practice You Want, The Way You Want.

Have you read about Rich Sykes’ story, of how he made the leap to become a superhero solopreneur?


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