From XU Magazine, 
Issue 26

From KPMG to successful practice owner

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Carolyn Cullen has been a chartered accountant for 20 years. After qualifying at KPMG Manchester, she spent eight years there in audit, before moving to Swinton Insurance. In 2019, Carolyn founded Monton Green Accountancy Ltd and hasn’t looked back. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” she says, “I absolutely love it.” 

Carolyn always planned to work remotely, but not necessarily alongside her husband and two young kids. “I class my two as fairly diligent and reasonably intelligent... With home-schooling, there were no signs of either of those characteristics!”

Goodbye, Excel. Hello, AccountancyManager. 

At Accountex North 2019, Caroline made a beeline for AM’s stand after a recommendation. “I thought I’d give it a go for a few months... and loved it.” 

“I used spreadsheets to manage deadlines before, but as my client base grew my spreadsheet was getting longer and longer... Now, without AccountancyManager, I’d be sobbing gently in the corner! I would’ve had to have stopped taking on clients much further back.”

Automation: A leap of faith worth taking

Carolyn put off using automated record requests and reminders at first. “I was a bit nervous about switching them on, but now it’s brilliant. Clients respond so much quicker, I get information out a lot quicker. It works really well. I should’ve switched that on from day one.” 

“I’ve got 220 clients and the admin for all of those people and chasing them... it really adds up to hours and hours. It’s not productive time either because you don’t get paid for it. The automation is just saving so much time - hours and hours a week.” 

“I’ve had clients say that they’ve really appreciated tax payment reminders too. Their previous accountants didn’t remind them and they’d missed payments. So those are great too.”

Risk assessments: Carolyn asks, we deliver

On AccountancyManager, you can complete AML ID checks, credit screens and risk assessments. Carolyn suggested being able to set an automated risk assessment task to generate in 12 months’ time. AccountancyManager recently refreshed the risk section with help from a former HMRC tax investigator. Carolyn’s idea - and many more new additions are now live. 

Chancellor announcements: summarised and sent to all

Many of Carolyn’s clients have been seriously affected by the pandemic, though none to-date have gone under. Carolyn made the decision early on not to charge for coronavirus-scheme claims and has temporarily reduced fees for some. 

One feature in AM became everyone’s favourite overnight in March 2020. Carolyn explains. “When the chancellor does a speech, I’ll do a little summary and then use the email-all feature. Clients have said that they really appreciated that.”

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