We chatted with Bev from Vibrant Accountancy about the business which she Co-owns With Ian Ball, this is her story of setting up the business.
I co-founded Vibrant Accountancy in September 2019 with my business partner Ian Ball. Vibrant Accountancy is all about being an arm around the shoulder. We’re business owners and we understand how lonely being an owner can be. We want to fully understand our clients, and become their finance partners, we want clients to feel like we’re an extension to their team, that we get them, we know where they are headed and the goals, challenges and obstacles they’ve got on their journey. If you’re looking for an accountant just to do the necessary evil of filing tax returns and accounts, we’re probably not the best choice, if you’re looking for someone to provide a little more support and guidance then we’re looking for clients like you, plus we drop the jargon because accountancy needn’t be so confusing!
Even during A-level and University days, I have been so interested in different businesses, where I juggled different part-time roles in different industries and different sized businesses and loved understanding how businesses worked, the hats the owners wore. After graduating, I joined Cooper Parry, here I was lucky enough to develop a whole host of experiences, working originally with their accounts and audit team I trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I then moved the Tax team where I looked after SME businesses and qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor, I also got the opportunity to do a placement with the Business Recovery and Insolvency team.
After having my first child, I had an overwhelming desire to set up alone, I didn’t know if it was the right time, but when is anything the right time? I wanted to have a life style business to start with that would enable me to earn an income, but also to be there for my young family. Whilst on maternity leave, I started to get approached by those who new me to see if I could help out with things, and this prompted me to take the leap and set up on my own. I’m also a workaholic and I worried going back to my role would I just become consumed in working for someone else but not having the freedom as I would as a business owner. After having my second child, I wanted to grow the business, I’d always been driven and I knew now was the time I wanted to move forward and find someone to take the business forward to the next level.
My biggest sense of achievement is two fold, its having happy clients and a happy team. I genuinely feel honoured to work with an amazing team of people, who really enjoy coming to work and the role they’re doing with the business. This is paramount to me that both the team and our clients are happy! We have an incredible culture and I feel very privileged to work with them. But also, the way our clients have supported us, and have gratitude for what we do is definitely an incredible sense of achievement!
The hardest part of being a business owner is that work never stops, and I don’t mean I’m at my desk all day every day, I mean you can’t just leave work at work, you bring it home, its on your mind, you’re always thinking of the next thing, thinking about your clients, your team, challenges you’re facing, opportunities to move into. You’re wearing that many hats they’re falling off your head, and it’s the effort of making sure you’re juggling everything is definitely a difficult one. Balancing this with my other roles of mum, wife, daughter, sister, friend etc… is definitely a balancing act. One I don’t always get right. Alongside this we have experienced rapid growth, and making the decision at what time to take on staff members is a difficult one to balance too, but sometimes you’re wearing far too many hats and for the sake of our clients as well as my sanity we need the resources in at the right time!
On the back of the number of different roles you have in and out of your business, I make time to wind down by doing two things. One is spending time looking after me in terms of yoga, running (I don’t always make enough time for this) sitting with a book, listening to a bit of music, but my real escape time is family walks whether this is local in the countryside or on the beach, I adore this time and find this is the time where I forget about everything except where I am in that moment! Definitely recommend finding your thing, the thing where you can completely switch off!
Sometimes I might sit and think “I could earn more and have potentially less stress in an employed position”, this doesn’t usually sit for long, firstly as I think I’m unemployable now as I’ve been fortunate enough to be ‘my own boss’ so to say, and also I want to see Vibrant thrive and if we can make an impact on our clients, staff and community then that for me will be a job well done.
As I mentioned we’re just bringing in our sixth member, this will be our fourth in nine months, and we’re in the process of fine tuning our processes and systems, making everything smoother, we want every element of our process to be smooth for our clients, and so we’re learning and developing, and will continue to do this, we’re keen to do things the best way we can. So getting the team optimised, freeing each of us up to do what we’re great at – its definitely a real team effort!
My advice for starting a new business is ensure you complete believe in whatever you are doing. You need the passion in bucket loads to invest in setting up and growing your business, as it will take a lot of time and energy so even if you’re a (boring?!) accountant you need to truly deeply find enjoyment in what you do – mine is knowing I can help business owners spend more time doing what they’re great at and love, have less stress, and achieve their goals (it’s not doing the numbers!). The next step is ask for help… if you don’t ask you don’t get and also you don’t know… so reach out, whether its not doing things alone, asking for a favour, seeking the right advice, or just talking to a business owner who’s been there. Good luck!