It’s been 30 years since I hung up my calculator and pen at PKF whom were then based at 83 Friar Gate. The year was 1989 and on the birth of my first daughter Sara I had decided to set up my own accountancy.
In a strange turn of fate, in the year 2006 (the same year my fourth child, Jack was born) , Maple moved into where my personal journey had begun, 83 Friar Gate, Derby. It has been a long and eventful journey…
Come walk down memory lane with me now, and discover what has changed for businesses and what I predict will change in the future…
During this time not only has the amount of red tape increased for business owners but also the complexity , from health and safety, GDPR, dealing with mental health in the work place and now my favourite Making Tax Digital (MTD).
What was the past like for businesses and accountants?
When I first started in Accountancy, the tax return was a paper document, remember those days?, and we just ticked the boxes and directed HMRC to the paperwork submitted to get the information.
HMRC employed professional people , whom actually answered the phone , whom would help and advise taxpayers to pay the right amount of tax.
The introduction of self assessment in 1996 , was a major change for the profession , and the Tax payer had to provide all the information on the tax return and then eventually all via electronic portals.
In 2017 after spending more than £100m on a super computer system – Connect – which allows HMRC to collect data from all banks ( including those of over 60 different countries) peer to peer lenders , mortgage company’s and other government departments. It also follows your digital footprint and crunches data from Airbnb , rental platforms , land registry, and credit card companies , online marketplaces, social media and also web browsing and email.
The here and now
Now in 2019 with the introduction of Making Tax Digital , Big Brother is well and truly watching you and we are possibly heading for paying your taxes quarterly in the not too distant future.
My thoughts and reflections
It’s a far cry from when I was at PKF and working on one of our larger clients , and the first time I saw a cheque written out to HMRC for £1m.
HMRC used to come across to the office to review and sign off on the companies tax return and computations and leave with a cheque on account , we of course provided the nice people from HMRC with lunch.
In hindsight it seemed far more civilised in those days
To be honest when I first started on my own , my immediate concerns were to juggle a new baby and earn some money , I had a couple of clients , one or two whom are still with me today , that I did the bookkeeping, payroll , VAT etc for.
In those days it was all pen and paper. My first computer , was built for me and cost about £1300 , it was nothing more than a glorified typewriter, there was no internet as such and excel wasn’t invented it was Lotus 123.
It wasn’t until the late 90’s when I read Michael Gerbers, the E Myth Revisted, that I began to really understand what business owners truly needed to be able to have the life they wanted.
Robert joined me in 2000 and we both wanted to be able to provide small business owners with the financial information and systems that could enable them to grow and develop a business without becoming a slave to it , and be their one point of call for all things business.
Since then we have added more and more specialisms within our business, from Ralph a retired solicitor, Andy whom used to work for the dark side ( HMRC ) , to Sara ( whom inevitably started this all ) whom deals with the wealth and protection for businesses and owners within the umbrella of St James Place.
James , my elder son , has also joined us recently as client care co- ordinator to ease my work load slightly and make sure that clients are looked after
The new cloud software available at fairly low cost , such as Xero , receipt bank have transformed the level of service we can now provide to our clients in a cost effective and timely manner
The focus for the business moving forward over the next 30 years , will be to strengthen and develop the range of services and help we can provide as well as our key team , so that we are truly Your Total Business Partner and we can continue to care for our clients and deliver first class service.