This month we felt it was a good time to share our personal journey of starting our own accountancy practice. Following graduate schemes and employment for a number of years we decided we wanted to set up Allchurch & Co. We wanted to provide a high-quality accountancy service in a flexible and personal way. A personal motivation for us was to continue our career but with more control over where we were going with things and how we structured our work around our lifestyle and family. We want to share some of the advantages we have experienced as well as the challenges, and it’s important to be honest that these do sometimes exist!
The biggest change we have found is that you don’t really know what day of the week it is! This to us is such a positive thing, as we run our business part time around our family and client needs, occasionally having meetings in the evenings or weekends if this suits the client best. We are no longer on the Friday train continuously counting down to a Friday to clock off for the weekend. Life is too short for this and it’s great that work is a big part of our life we really enjoy.
With young children we enjoy the peace of mind it brings knowing that if there was a problem we could always be with our children. Even though luckily, we haven’t had the need to pull on this flexibility so much so far, it is nice knowing that big events like school sports day and school fetes for my son Ioan, just starting nursery, are always a priority in the diary.
Constant learning and development is something we enjoy. As we now run our own practice we no longer have such a large immediate support network around us, which we experienced when working at a big firm, this does mean that you need to constantly keep up to date, refreshed and this is something we love to do.
Winning new work, servicing existing clients, obtaining positive feedback is very motivating in itself to help us continue to get up every morning and get to work with a smile!
There are no hidden secrets when work-ing for yourself, your salary, pension, sick pay etc. is not guaranteed and therefore you need to ensure that you plan well and ensure you have insurances in place. You also have to ensure that you are constantly giving your clients an excellent service so they continue to enjoy working with you and want to keep it that way.
The to-do list is very long! We hope in the future to grow our team, but running your own business means that it’s not only the accountancy service you need to provide but also to ensure that all other business matters are up to date and sometimes there are not enough hours in the day!
We have a smaller immediate support network, so this is something we have had to work on. We have helped set up the ICAEW Swansea town group for small practices to support and share ideas.
We also keep closely in contact with ex-colleagues and ensure that if we can’t help with something that may fall in a specialist area, we set up meetings for our clients to make sure they are always getting the best advice, even if that may not be from us.
Bank holidays are no longer as much of a novelty as there is always work to get done. Also holidays need plenty of planning to ensure our clients understand we are away and how to contact us if there is something very important that they needed to discuss.
All-in-all we are enjoying the Allchurch & Co journey and it is one we are very proud of. We feel very fortunate to live, work and raise our families in such a beautiful part of the world and are strong believers that life is too short to be doing something that you don’t enjoy.
If Self Employment is something you are considering we would be happy to share our experiences over a cup of coffee. Please feel free to get in touch.
Allchurch & Co Chartered Accountants
www.allchurchco.com 07825 232218