Instead of us just telling you how good we are, we asked ICAEW Chartered Accountant and CIOT Chartered Tax Adviser Carolyn Burchell (Composure Accounting & Taxation) to tell us what she thinks of our cloud-based Sage One Accountant Edition and Sage One Accounts software.
1. Hi Carolyn, could you please give me a brief summary of who you are, the name of your business and what you do?
I am a member of the ICAEW and Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). I qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC predecessor, Coopers & Lybrand and passed the Chartered Tax Adviser exams as an independent candidate in 2012. A member firm of the ICAEW and CIOT, my business Composure Accounting & Taxation is based in West Sussex and has clients throughout the UK.
My dual qualification, combined with time spent working both in practice and in commerce, means that I can see the big picture for my clients and add value through business advice as well as compliance services. For most of my clients, I am responsible for their personal and business taxes, VAT and payroll. On the accounting front, I get involved at whatever stage they need me – for some that means I take care of everything from recording transactions to submitting iXBRL compliant statutory accounts to HMRC and Companies House.
On the personal front, I am married with three sons. I wouldn’t exactly say that I have “free” time as the children’s activities take centre stage. My accounting knowledge does come in handy though and I hold a couple of Treasurer and Trustee roles.
2. How many people are in your business? Is it just you or do you have business partners / employees?
I am a sole practitioner at the moment but am keen to bring in extra resource over the next 12-18 months to allow me to grow the practice whilst maintaining the standards of service for my existing clients.
3. How long have you been using Sage One Accountant Edition for? What were you using beforehand? Why did you change?
I have been using Sage One Accountant Edition since September 2011 and I use Sage One Accounts for my own practice. I think this is a really important part of being able to recommend Sage One to clients because I do the same jobs as my clients so am not just providing them with a theoretical answer.
4. What do you like best about using Sage One with clients?
It’s hard to narrow it down but my top three would be:
- It’s cloud-based so you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection; I use my smartphone when I am out of the office, plus data is not stored on users’ own devices which is good news if your hard drive crashes!
- The fact that I have direct access to client info means that we don’t both waste time sending downloads or lists of journals to be posted
- Sage One allows flexible working with regards to when and where the work is done so the work can be shared out between different stakeholders – the client, their bookkeeper, and me, the accountant
5. What advice would you give to someone starting out in business / following in your footsteps?
For other accountants I would advise getting as much help as possible from your professional body; I went on a “Setting up in Practice” course run by the ICAEW which covered practicalities as well as legal and regulatory considerations. My professional bodies also provide ongoing support and resources.
For start-up businesses, my number one tip would be to find an accountant that you like and trust! Look for someone with recognised qualifications and then leverage their knowledge and contacts. This would be my advice even if I wasn’t an accountant!
Apart from that, ask for help from a broad variety of sources:
- Business organisations e.g. Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Nation
- Bank managers
My accountant’s brain always looks for way to reduce costs and there are a number of bodies that will offer free sessions for business start-ups e.g. ICAEW Business Advice Service. However, as with everything, choose your counsel wisely.
Sage One Accountant Edition
If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, please call our Sage Accountants’ Club on 0845 111 11 11 to start using Sage One Accountant Edition which enables you to manage multiple clients’ accounts if they are using Sage One too.