How Bespoke Accounting empower small businesses to succeed
Living up to their name, UK-based firm, Bespoke Accounting, tailors their accounting to individual businesses—customizing their offerings to suit each one. Their attention to detail and high level of personal support for each of their clients is a significant part of their focus, something that they believe sets them apart from other firms.
Bespoke Accounting Director, Bob Stebbings, says their satisfaction comes from giving top-tier accounting services to clients who may not have the same budget as larger businesses.
Bespoke is part of the Xeinadin Group—a collection of accounting firms with thousands of advisors from across the UK they can call on for specialist knowledge.
Bob and his team are also embracing technology and optimizing their systems to free up time and energy for the bespoke service they’re known for. They’re in constant dialogue with clients about their goals and challenges to fully understand what services they need.
Helping small businesses to grow
Occasionally in the accounting industry, there’s a blinding focus on landing big clients. But not for Bob and his team. Empowering small businesses to succeed is what drives Bespoke.
“A lot of accountants look at growing by bringing [in] larger clients—which is fine, larger clients bring larger fees—but the owners of small businesses need our help and support far more, because they won’t have their own internal accounting advisor or their own internal financial director,” explains Bob.
Being a part of the Xeinadin Group benefits Bespoke’s clients by giving them access to specialist accounting across different industries.
Bob acknowledges that this level of personalized service is Bespoke’s secret sauce. “What’s unique in relation to a firm of our size, as a part of the Xeinadin Group, we do have access to a whole range of knowledge and specialty that a firm of our size wouldn't normally have.
“It doesn't matter what direction the client goes in, we can always carry on helping—even though it might not be me with that knowledge, I can bring that knowledge in.”
Bob and his team welcome questions and input from clients to give them control over their accounting. He also encourages them to get the most from their financial services. As Bob says, “We’ll push them to get the most out of the services we provide, so we’re not just an overhead because there’s an annual tax return that needs doing.”
Often small businesses won’t realize the potential they have to improve their bottom line, and according to Bob, in many cases, all they need is a nudge in the right direction.
For example, when Bob was getting the Bespoke website redesigned, he noticed the web developer he employed was charging too little for her services. Informally, he recommended adopting a three-tiered pricing model to help her drive up profit. Without refining the process much, she used the advice, built three packages of services, and it wasn’t long before she had signed up two new clients to the highest tier of pricing—far more than she would’ve ever thought to charge.
Even though it was a small piece of off-the-cuff advice, it exemplifies what Bob believes Bespoke is all about: “Helping those clients who are receptive to ideas and advice that help them grow.”
Embracing technology (at the right time)
Fortunately for Bespoke, they moved away from their internal servers and onto the cloud by March 2020.
“It’s never too late to embrace technology and utilize what’s available. Clients are changing, the technology is changing, and clients’ expectations are changing. We have to move with that to make sure we’re providing what those businesses want,” says Bob.
But it doesn’t stop at the cloud for Bespoke. They’re committed to making the most of new technology to keep their firm on the right trajectory. Bob sees Bespoke Accounting as being more advisory-focused down the track. In order for that to become a reality, compliance and bookkeeping needs to be streamlined—even automated where possible.
“You need tools in place to generate the data you need to advise on, and to allow the compliance work to be dealt with, to free-up time to give the advice…that’s why at the start of 2021, I looked at system implementation and workflows and brought Karbon in as part of that process.”
Karbon’s Work view has been helping Bespoke by providing visibility over bottlenecks, before it’s too late.
“Karbon makes sure that nothing gets missed and clients get the service that they want, because you’ve got automations in place to ensure that happens.”
The right systems and processes for the future
A big part of Bespoke’s planning for the future is building the systems that keep work quality consistent, despite any changes to firm size or staff.
Often growth can come at the expense of efficiency, so for Bob, it was important to get the right processes in place early: “We need to get the nuts and bolts right so everything being done for the client is as automated and efficient as possible—so we can add value to the other bits.”
Pivoting processes to grow the right way
Instead of overseeing every piece of work, Bob oversees the creation of processes for every type of work—a scalable and more efficient strategy. Centralizing their work and assigning certain roles to different job-types means the firm is less reliant on individuals to provide services. Instead, everyone who comes on board can see what needs to be done to be effective.
“Before Karbon, I wasn’t able to grow a team the way I wanted to—in a controlled way—without being fairly hands-on myself: checking things and being on top of every stage of the process. [We] can’t grow if I’m the bottleneck and the restriction. You want the business to be able to survive without you, [and] you have to have the right systems in place so you know things are being done the way they should be done.”
Pricing structure changes to meet client needs
During the pandemic, many of Bespoke’s small business clients were struggling. At the time they most needed financial services, they weren’t in a position to afford them. Bob and his team changed their pricing structure to match the amount of transactions their clients were doing.
For example, instead of billing for the year, Bespoke offers pricing based on how busy a client is, which can be scaled to suit how business is going. For a lot of the businesses who were in hibernation over lockdowns, this meant their accounting overheads weren’t crushing.
Using the right tools to empower small businesses
It might seem strange that adopting technology enables a more personal touch, but for Bob and his team, the right processes let them grow knowing things will always be done the Bespoke Accounting way.
By putting the hard work in now and making sure they’re using technology efficiently, Bespoke Accounting will keep delivering their hallmark tailored accounting services for years to come.
Innovated their pricing structure to help small businesses survive the pandemic
Leveraged tech to improve efficiency, streamline processes and eliminate bottlenecks
Automated compliance tasks to free-up capacity for advisory services
About Bespoke Accounting
Services: Tax, Virtual Financial Management, Cloud Accounting, Payroll, Business Advisory
Location: Rustington, England
Firm Size: 4-10 Employees
- Innovated their pricing structure to help small businesses survive the pandemic
- Leveraged tech to improve efficiency, streamline processes and eliminate bottlenecks
- Automated compliance tasks to free-up capacity for advisory services