It all began in 2014 with an idea. And that idea was to make accountancy useful for small businesses.
Traditional accountants seemed so completely focussed on producing statutory accounts, which tended not to be of any use to the small business owners who were paying for them. The fact that they tended to be produceed 9 months after the year end, and dealt with events nearly 2 years in the past, didn't help either. The whole process seemed designed to be an exercise in compliance, and missed an incredibly valuable opportunity to do something useful with all of that carefully scrutinised information.
So Accounts and Legal was born. To do accounting differently: to try to make the financials forward looking rather than backward looking, to look beyond the balance sheet, to set entrepreneurs up to succeed and fundamentally to help small businesses grow.
Our proposition seemed to strike a chord with the small business community, and under the impressive leadership of our MD, Keir Wright-Whyte, before long we were getting more than 100 enquiries a month from entrepreneurs keen to do things differently. Our London office went from strength to strength, and in 2016 we opened up our second accounting office in Brighton.
Technology has been important to us from the start, and after being short listed for the Accountancy Age start up of the year, we were one of the first UK firms to be recognised as a platinum Xero accountant. Technology has come to underpin our practice and the way we support our client base. The ability to automate data entry, bank reconciliation and payments has the potential to dramatically decrease costs and free up time to help businesses grow.
Next came the second part of the proposition - to provide legal services alongside accountancy services. Small businesses, tend not to use solicitors very much, unless of course things get very bad. So we wanted to find a way to get cost effective legal advice, provided as part of the accountancy process, pre-emptively rather than reactively.
This was easier said than done, because providing legal advice is incredibly carefully regulated in the UK and there are very few firms who offer legal and accounting advice under one roof. But with the help of our very talented head of legal services, Rachel Duncan, in 2019 the solicitor's regulatory authority granted us a licence to operate as a multi-disciplinary practice. We are now very proud to offer employment, commercial and corporate legal advice.
In 2020, we established a new regional hub in Manchester under the guidance of cloud accounting guru, Stuart Hurst. With ambitious plans to continue to help entrepreneurs succeed and an office expansion plan to match, we're looking forward to bringing some of the Accounts and Legal magic to every corner of the country in the next few years.