Alex: Hi James, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your business?
James: I am a Chartered Accountant and the managing director of Accounting 4 Everything in Paignton. We offer a range of accounts and tax services, including bookkeeping and payroll.
Since I set up Accounting 4 Everything in 2016, we have focused on start-ups and small businesses, and have worked around the clock for the last 12 months to support our clients through the pandemic. We work with sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies – as well as small charities and Community Interest Companies.
We have just celebrated our 5th birthday, but due to COVID-19 we haven’t been able to celebrate as we planned, so are looking to have a big event later in the year for our clients and friends.
Alex: What made you start your business, and what are you trying to achieve with it?
James: I have been involved in business all my life, with my family running The Redcliffe Hotel since the late 1970s, and throughout my teenage years I was always entrepreneurial – whether that was renting out my computer games to friends, arranging school discos, or trading Pogs (if anyone remembers those!).
I’ve had quite a diverse range of jobs since I started as a pot washer for the family business at the age of 14, working in hotels, restaurants, theatre, radio, bars, and clubs. All that experience in business came in useful when I started my accountancy career at 21. And after 15 years of being an accountant at some of the top firms across South Devon, I felt the time was right to do it on my own.
The bookkeeping and accounting landscape is changing forever with the expansion of ‘Making Tax Digital’ to non-VAT registered businesses in the coming years, and as a bit of an IT geek, I jumped on the Cloud Accounting bandwagon with Xero and QuickBooks Online from day one. We are now Platinum partners with Xero, which entitles us to pass on the very best discounts to our clients. Also, all of our accounts staff are qualified ProAdvisors.
Alex: How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns?
James: I have always had a love for technology, and from day one I set up the business in a way where I would be able to work anywhere in the world, if the need arose! This meant that we have always been able to work remotely when needed, and this was first tested during the ‘Beast from the East’ cold wave in 2018.
For the past year, the team have been working from home and I have been manning the office, but we are now slowly bringing others back to the office for a day a week – while ensuring we can do it safely and in line with all the guidelines.
We have been supporting our clients throughout the pandemic in a range of ways. As well as communicating via email newsletters and social media posts, we set up a WhatsApp group for business owners to ask questions, and alongside Helena White from The HR Dept I did a daily Webinar on Zoom and Facebook to keep up everyone up to date on the latest changes. Currently, we are still running these twice a week.
Alex: Do you have any big plans for the future?
James: Right now, our plan is simply to continue providing our clients with the best service we can.
As we come out of the pandemic, and as businesses recover from the chaos of the past year, we are expecting some changes to levels of taxation (on top of the Corporation Tax increase already announced), and will be here to advise our clients when this happens.
Due to the pandemic, I stepped away from the day-to-day tax and accounting role, and have been on call for clients to support them through the difficult times – moving to more of an advisory coaching role.
I am now a Certified Entrepreneurs Circle Business Coach, and from July, will be focusing on helping businesses to grow – with an emphasis on sales, marketing, and managing finances. I’m very excited about my new role and can’t wait to start supporting even more small businesses!
Alex: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our audience?
James: A huge thank you to all of our clients who have supported us over the past 5 years, and we hope that those who have been watching our webinars through the pandemic have found them useful.