The people we work with include creative directors and marketing consultants, fast-moving tech entrepreneurs and the founders of independent restaurants – as well as providing financial directorship for larger businesses.
Scroll down to meet some of them here, learn what challenges they faced – and how we worked together so they can sleep at night.
Katherine Wildman is a copywriter and scriptwriter who helps businesses to remove the corporate waffle from their communications. A member of ProCopywriters’ Network – the Alliance of Professional Writers – Katherine’s based on the North East coast, but she works with clients all over the world.
When we first met her, Katherine’s business was beginning to grow, while at the same time her personal circumstances were undergoing significant changes. Her young family was growing up and she was finding that she had more working time available during the week.
When we looked at her business, it was clear that she was busy – but she was busy with lots of small jobs that took up her time but didn’t really result in a healthy bank balance. Despite being a limited company, she was also struggling to see the difference between the money that belonged to her business and the money that was hers to spend. She kept her receipts in some form of order, but had no idea how they correlated to her business growth – or lack of.
“When I first met Gill back in 2010, it’s fair to say I was scared of money – and of getting my accounts wrong. I honestly had no clue – and, even worse, I was bumbling along with my head in the sand. Not a great place to be as a business owner.”
Katherine Wildman, 2018
How We Worked
We worked with Katherine to help her aim for larger pieces of work, and to set her fees in accordance with market rates. We were able to show her where she was adding value for her clients, and to price her work appropriately.
To remove the stress of bookkeeping, we asked Katherine to simply put her receipts in a box and give them to us on a regular basis. (It may be helpful to note that it’s a Swizzels sweetie tin from Halloween three years ago and it lives in her office cupboard. There’s also a protractor and seven pence in coppers in there – we’ve yet to work out why.)
We then helped her with an element of financial planning so that her tax bill at the end of the year wasn’t a shock and she could build a savings plan for it.
We moved her accounting onto QuickBooks, so that she can see at-a-glance where she stands, month by month, and we now issue and follow up all invoices for her.
Until last year, Katherine was also working as an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University. We helped her to manage her finances so that she understood which business was paying her where, and the tax implications of her university employment.
Katherine is now working for clients across the UK and the world and building her business, freed from the time needed to keep her limited company in good working order. She delivers her Swizzels tin to us on a regular basis and no longer has to battle with late payments.
Under the Oak Tree
How we took on a multi-currency, multi-client freelance business and let one woman sleep at night
Sian Lewis is a freelance magazine journalist, copywriter, interiors stylist, and French to English translator. She also helps to run an event hire company. Based in West Sussex, Sian works for businesses all over the world and invoices her different clients in either GBP or Euros.
When we first met Sian she was a sole trader and was trying to do all her accounting and bookkeeping for both her English and French bank accounts by herself. This was both stressful – and was eating into her time at the weekends and in the evenings when she could be with her young daughter. Sian had an accountant to help her with her end of year tax return, but had no financial planning support during the year.
How We Worked
We worked with Sian to streamline her business accounting, and set her up as a limited company to make her more tax efficient and to increase her professional standing. We also moved all her business banking to QuickBooks for ease and added clarity.
Sian has three defined elements to her business and QuickBooks allows her to see, at-a-glance, how each strand is performing. Sian invoices her clients as each contracted piece is completed, and we log each transaction for her so she always knows what monies are outstanding. She send us her receipts in the post each month, and we give her an estimate for her tax bill with several months to plan in advance, so that she never gets caught out in January.
Freed from bookkeeping and multi-currency accountancy, Sian now has both the necessary headspace and time to invest in her business development. Her evenings and weekend are free and any guilt she was feeling about having to work on her accounts, rather than being with her family, is gone.
“I used to dread accounts. I get paid to write – numbers are my nemesis. However, when my previous accountant sent a set of end of year figures that even I could see were wrong, Gill stepped in – with just three weeks to go before the filing date – and sorted everything out for me. I have never looked back and Gill has transformed how I feel about my accounts. I have total peace of mind because I know she is on top of all filing dates and Companies House requirements. She helps me stay on top of invoicing and keeps me up to date when the tax rules changes, so that I can make the most out of the money I earn.”
Sian M Lewis
Vikki Ross Writes
How to go from being ‘sick with worry’ to making business accounting ‘a smooth and easy ride’
Vikki Ross is a copywriter at Sky and specialises in branding and tone of voice. The co-founder of Copy Cabana and Copy Capital, she runs workshops around the world, pushes future creatives to write award-winning copy at London’s School of Communication Arts 2.0, run masterclasses with D&AD and supports young female creatives with Creative Equals, SheSays and Who’s Your Momma.
Vikki was already very organised when we met her. She did her own monthly accounting and bookkeeping – and her end of year tax returns. But she was only finding out what she owed the taxman at the end of the financial year, which meant that January could come as a surprise.
“Gill’s patient and compassionate, which is just what I need when accounting issues make me sick with worry!”
Vikki Ross, 2018
How We Worked
We worked with Vikki to set up a system whereby she can invoice her clients direct, and then we replicate each invoice on our system to keep everything in shape and up-to-date. Based in London, Vikki posts an envelope of receipts to us each month, which means we can keep her informed about her income, expenses and profit – and the VAT and corporation tax she owes.
Today, Vikki is seeing the benefits of her already organised accounting. She can access all the information she needs to make planning decisions, has set up a pension scheme and is able to think ahead with clarity.
“Gill’s at the end of a call or email instantly. She’s immediately soothing when I panic, and she’s patient when I’m trying to understand anything unfamiliar (which is everything). She’s also incredibly pro-active with my best interests in mind – she’s always thinking and planning ahead on my behalf, which is so reassuring. I’ve recommended her a number of times, and I do so because she is a pleasure to work with – she makes everything so easy. And she does it all in a way you’ll/I’ll understand, not in accountancy jargon.”
Jing Well Acupuncture
Victoria Johnson DipAc MBAcC is fully registered traditional acupuncturist, based in North Shields on the banks of the River Tyne. Victoria is a Member of The British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s largest regulatory body for practitioners of Traditional Acupuncture.
When we first met Victoria, she was renting a room in another therapist’s practice. She was a sole trader and we saw that she was struggling to differentiate between the money that came into the business, and the money that was hers to spend.
As a consequence, she was spending much of the money she was making – and scrabbling to find the cash to pay her tax bill each January.
Victoria’s business had a very decent turnover – but because of what was being spent, it wasn’t growing as quickly as it could and Victoria wasn’t able to fulfill her ambition to open a practice of her own.
“The struggle to differentiate between the money in a business and the money that’s the business owner’s to spend is a common problem with sole traders, and it’s quite a simple one to solve.”
How We Worked
We converted Victoria’s business into a limited company to split her money legally from what belonged to the business and what belonged to her. More importantly, becoming the director of her own limited company helped Victoria to make the split between what was her money and what was her business’s money on a psychological level.
Since making the move from sole trader to limited company, Victoria has seen her company go from strength to strength. As the money in her business began to build up, Victoria reached the point when the lease on the room she was renting was up for renewal.
Working together, we looked at her costings and did some projections about the business and its potential for growth. With this information, Victoria felt confident to take out a lease on her own clinic with a loan to cover its refurbishment – and today she’s the therapist renting rooms to other practitioners. The business continues to grow and it’s performing extremely well.
“By providing me with clear and easy-to-understand financial information, Gill and Nick supported me to make the decisions that have seen my business develop and grow. I’m in a stable position, my business is growing and I’ve got what I’ve always wanted – my own place.”