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RETHINKING ACCOUNTANCY AND CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES

Going beyond the balance sheet for clients, Jaccountancy NE Ltd is a Newcastle-based accountancy firm with a passion-driven and purpose-led approach. Founded by Jay Wilson, the team behind Jaccountancy operates with one core purpose: to challenge out-dated ideas surrounding accountancy and bring honesty, innovation and personality to the forefront. Working with individuals and SMEs in the all-important early stages of their business development, Jaccountancy has a track record of getting things done without the tedious lingo – instead, they adopt a business-minded, comprehensive outlook to revive accountancy as a much-needed addition to any company. North England Prestige spoke to Jay about modern accountancy, and how it can give businesses a boost.

How is Jaccountancy re-orientating accountancy stereotypes?

Accountancy is usually viewed as complicated administration and the recording of transactions, but we want our clients to rethink accountancy – viewing it as the language of business and using it as a tool for enabling the production of key analytical insights on the financial position of their business. This data can be presented as an easy to understand graphic as well as being used to produce a dashboard of performance metrics monitoring growth in revenue and margin.

“Accountants are dull and boring,” is something that I hear all the time, but if a new business owner wants to grow their company, the common conception is that it’s not up to the accountant to get involved to help make their client’s business better. This is a stereotype that we are challenging by becoming a trusted business partner to our clients; helping them go above and beyond the balance sheet. Our client’s success is our success – it’s a win-win.

By helping our clients’ businesses to grow, we begin to re-orientate their perception of accountants and accountancy. As a fun 26-year-old Geordie who proactively offers solutions, I break the mould of a traditional accountant. Most accountants offer the same suite of products and services, so we don’t list ours on our website. As a business, we don’t lead with our product. We’re passion driven, and purpose-led.

Some stereotypes date back to a pre-digital age, where we were reliant on manual data entry and labour-intensive processes to manage the books. However, in August 2020, we launched the Jaccountancy App which does all of that and more!

Many new business owners would really benefit from an accountant at the beginning of their journey, but they don’t engage with one because they are new, revenue will be low, and there is a stereotype that hiring an accountant would break the bank.

How do you help new businesses at the start of their journeys?

Jaccountancy can be a powerful ally in starting a business and taking it to the next level. All businesses are different, but at the same time, many aspects are similar. A complete set of business systems such as Xero, AutoEntry and Tide give you a major stepping stone in systemising a business, and we maintain these systems to suit our clients’ values, beliefs and ideas about how they want their business to act and be represented in the wider market. I spend time working with a variety of businesses across different industries and seeing what works – and equally, what doesn’t.

Jaccountancy is a member of Business Network International (BNI), so when the next step for our client is a website, business cards or new logo designs, we have a contact book of trusted businesses that we recommend and work closely with.

We also agree a bespoke monthly fee with our clients, which is affordable and increases in line with business growth. As we are a new business ourselves, we completely understand how daunting it can be to start and grow a new business. We help business owners at the start of their journeys, setting up not just the accounts, but the capacity to invoice and take card payments or direct debit. We even help with credit control for our clients, with 30-day payment terms.

Why did you choose an entirely digital business model?

Like many industries, accountancy has gone through a shift due to changes in technology, and this has changed the business model for accountants and, more importantly, has changed the way the client manages their accounting. Bank reconciliations now happen on an iPhone and on the move, rather than at a desk and in the office. We’re seeing more business owners use cloud-based accounting systems, such as Xero, rather than desktop-based alternatives.

Jaccountancy uses a digital business model to monitor assignments, obtain signatures, assign tasks to our employees and collaborate with clients in a shared space, which is more secure than email. We’ve recently introduced Holly onboard as our client manager, and as a team we collaborate together remotely, enabling us to meet the fluctuating needs of Jaccountancy.

Jaccountancy was one of the few businesses that were not adversely impacted by COVID-19, as we are completely online. In contrast, we saw an increase in work and revenue due to extra support from furlough schemes and financial support packages. We like to meet clients face-to-face where possible, but since COVID-19 we’ve completely moved to video conferencing for the interim.

Why is it important to put clients – rather than products and sales – at the core of your service?

For all of our clients we take a personalised and tailored approach. We will not only visit clients’ businesses and meet the owners, but we’ll also meet the staff where applicable and help to map out the processes in every aspect of their business. We understand that sometimes, businesses need an objective approach to see potential improvement opportunities.

Personality can really drive a business forward, and – without being massively informal – letting your personality shine through and connecting with the client on an emotional level. We immediately experience a more transparent, authentic and better working client-accountant relationship.

Clients are at the heart of our business, and as the business grows our network and the community around us also grows. Jaccountancy is regulated by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), so our clients know that we’re not only a passionate firm putting clients first, but we’re also extremely committed to compliance with regulatory requirements and upholding professional standards.

How does Jaccountancy inspire the next generation of accountants?

I know a handful of people who have already been inspired to take up the profession after seeing the opportunities that it can bring, and on occasion, I offer support to friends and colleagues in a specific area of their studies. The most important asset that Jaccountancy has is me and my personal brand. As I deliver information to my clients about their businesses, the client wants to know who is delivering that vital piece of information.

There’s a stereotype that you have to be good at maths to be an accountant; I left school with a C in maths and began a decade of call-orientated roles and bar shifts. I started studying bookkeeping in 2017 – in between a full-time and part-time job. I became a fully qualified, self-taught accountant within 24 months, and a week after my final exams I incorporated Jaccountancy.

What does the future of Jaccountancy look like?

Jaccountancy is still in the very early stages, and we are continuing to focus on internal systems and controls to give us the capacity to both scale slowly and increase the automation and efficiencies of our processes. It is massively ambitious, but my goal is to be a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. Until then, the future is engaging with clients, rethinking accountancy, and focusing on the re-orientation of accountancy stereotypes within the industry. As our motto goes: Engage, Rethink, Re-orientate.

Jaccountancy NE Ltd was awarded New Accountancy Business of the Year by the North England Prestige judges, who were impressed by their commitment to challenging traditional ideas of accountancy and their market-leading services.

Client testimonials

Joseph Teasdale, Director of ORCA EPA LTD

We engaged with Jaccountancy NE Ltd over a year ago. They look after our statutory accounts, payroll, VAT returns, and R&D, and they also assist us with government financial assessments and the required due diligence for our regulatory approvals. We are delighted that Jaccountancy have been recognised in this way, and look forward to working with them now and in the future.

Elaine Binney, Director of Wildcard Payment Services Ltd

Jay and Jaccountancy are fantastic to work with – we’ve worked together for over 13 months, and he’s been able to keep up and adapt to our business. We have outsourced the entire accounting function to Jaccountancy, and Jay is a pleasure to work with. During the past year we have been registered for VAT and have been recommended different VAT schemes based on what was best for our business. We love the easy-to-understand monthly reports, and it’s reassuring that we have an accountant looking after things without breaking the bank. We highly recommend Jay to anyone who is thinking of starting a business or using an accountant!

Daniel Mccabe, Director of DM Interior Designs Ltd

As new business owners we approached Jay to look after everything for us, including finance, tax, and bookkeeping – everything! One monthly direct debit for complete peace of mind that everything is being taken care of. Jay does a really good job of explaining what my financial responsibilities are as a director, and he has spent time helping me to get my business off the ground, giving sound advice and answering any questions I can think of. Very appreciated, thank you!

William Greener, Director of Tylmia Transport Ltd

Jay was recommended to me by a friend who was already an existing client. As a new business start-up, the whole process is very daunting, but Jay has made the experience seamless and easy from start to finish. Jaccountancy were able to set up everything that I needed for my company and provided a business model showing how best to operate the company for tax efficiency. Jay is a professional and is amazing at what he does, and I would highly recommend Jaccountancy!

 

 

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