One year in

So, 9:00am exactly one year ago the doors of ChadStone Accountancy & Tax opened for business. Rob and I had both left secure jobs and regular salaries for the excitement of doing it for ourselves. As I type this blog I look around our fully kitted out office with the various electronic IT boxes whirring away doing their job, the art that we chose on the walls and our plants that we bought almost a year ago (that are somehow still alive) and I can’t help but wonder where the year has gone.

 

Exactly a year ago Rob and I both sat at one desk (as Rob’s didn’t get delivered) with our laptops that wouldn’t connect to the internet because we’re useless with anything IT hardware based that gets anywhere near technical. We had one client, a fairly hefty target for year one and were sporting brave faces. We will be the first to admit that we were nervous, I think if you’re not nervous about a situation like this then something is wrong, but excitement overshadowed our nerves, we were the ones that were brave enough to do this and we weren’t going to let it go easily.

 

One year on and we won’t say how many clients we have (mainly as it’s an irrelevant figure compared to turnover) but we can say we have reached and surpassed our target, we’ve taken on the fee block of a small firm in Shrewsbury and we’re now employing our lovely member of staff Jo. For anyone reading this who knows me or Rob well enough you will be surprised to hear that we’re now employers, we certainly wouldn’t have thought of ourselves as someone’s bosses anytime soon.

 

It’s been a tough first year, we’ve had massive highs (see paragraph above) and what we thought were low lows. However, after thinking about the lows, they were much lower in our heads than they actually were. The first time a potential client said they weren’t going to use us felt like the world needed to open up and swallow us. With hindsight and a bit more experience, we weren’t the right fit with that client, and that’s absolutely fine. The first time a marketing company turned out to be crooks (not saying all marketing companies are but with the amount of phone calls we get from sham opportunities we are definitely more tentative with them) we thought that someone was out to get us. Now we know, or we like to think we know, how to work people out and we will only use people we are truly happy with. All these experiences have made us the firm we are today.

 

We are still a very young firm with many years ahead of us, but if any of those years are like this one then bring them on, because we have loved this year and we will happily do it again and again.

 

Thank you to our clients, to Jo, to anyone we know in the world of business, but mainly thank you to our partners, our families and our friends as they are the people who allowed us to do this in the first place and have supported us through this adventure.

Taking the big step:

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On 6th May 2014, we (Rob Chadderton and Alex Stone) started trading as ChadStone Accountancy and Tax. We both worked in ‘big’ firms before and decided for multiple reasons that we wanted to start up on our own. The major reasons for leaving a comfortable, stable, and reasonably well paid roles, were the challenge of it, the thrill of providing for ourselves and our families, and the fact that we felt the personal relationship with clients was not enough of a focus at our previous firms merely due to their size. We both pride ourselves on knowing each one of our clients well and intend to instil that as a culture in our firm indefinitely. (more…)