60 second start-up: Accounts Assist

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

Accounts Assist is a growing firm of Chartered Certified Accountants specialising in accountancy and taxation services for small businesses, freelancers, contractors and consultants.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

I spent too much on pay-per-click. Word of mouth and an intelligent web presence seems to be the way forward.

When I decided to found a chartered accountancy practice, my core motivation was to create something that followed my own ethos rather than being a traditional, 'run of the mill' practice. So Accounts Assist is built on a philosophy of clarity, transparency and personalised service, which I believe is never more vital than in the current economic climate, where trust in financial services has been shaken.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

Accountancy practices everywhere! But we believe we bring something different to the marketplace, something that small businesses really need: a simple, straightforward service with lots of support and no hidden fees.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

We offer fixed-fees, but that doesn't mean you get an 'off the shelf' service. We meet with each client individually, and offer unlimited tax advice.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

It's completely self-funded.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I was working in accountancy in the City.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

While I was working in the City, I observed that the majority of people in my profession were out to make money above all else, so I set out on my own because I believe that accountancy can be honest, transparent and client-centred and still be very successful as a result.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

Franchising the business. We have a clear, straightforward business model that was just crying out to be franchised. By having each office taking day-to-day responsibility for maintaining the quality of service, we can keep the core ethos of a personal service intact.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Spent money on fruitless pay-per-click endeavours in the beginning. Word of mouth and an intelligent web presence seems to be the way forward.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

A chocolate digestive. A digestive because we offer comfort in the form of fixed fees and consistent service, and the chocolate on top is because we're a treat to deal with.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

Twitter. I wish I'd thought of that. Simplicity is so important in this age where everyone is pressed for time and Twitter brings that to social media.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Right here, doing what we're doing, but with lots more clients, and lots more franchises spreading the Accounts Assist philosophy and quality of service.

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