How Full Stop goes beyond accountancy to make a positive impact
When looking at the big picture, occasionally the details can be lost. But Full Stop paints a big picture with a small and careful brush, and in turn, accounts for everything.
When she began Full Stop, Lauren Harvey’s vision for the business didn’t start and end with accountancy. It began as a desire to help other businesses, which then transformed into a re-imagining of the accountant’s role.
Now, Full Stop is an award-winning accountancy business based out of Cardiff, embracing technology and creativity to improve the lives of their clients.
Their motivation is centered around impact: positively impacting the client’s business, the community, and the environment. Lauren saw fusing those things as Full Stop’s foundation.
Starting with experience
Lauren has had an interesting path that led her to start Full Stop. She began as an AI software developer, and then launched and developed systems for the motor industry. It was there she became a chartered accountant, learning first the fundamentals, and then the intricacies, of the accounting world.
Lauren then worked for the late Queen Elizabeth II as the estate accountant for Windsor. It was a role that enabled her to refine her skills and continue her studies at the same time, not to mention a great vote of confidence for the rest of her career.
When it came time to start Full Stop, Lauren had amassed a wealth of experience. It made sense to her to start her own business, as she says, “it has always appealed to me that if something isn't working, it is in my power to change it.”
Making a positive impact on the community
At Full Stop, accounting services are only the tip of the iceberg. They are passionate about making a positive impact on a larger scale.
“With the team, the clients, our partners, it’s all about a good experience and making the lives of these people better, so they, in turn, can have a better impact on the communities around them. It’s like a ripple effect. You start it and hope you put it in place to carry on.”
B Corp certified
The B Corp certification is awarded to companies who have a positive impact on their community and environment. Full Stop are proudly B Corp certified.
« It’s about business being a force for good, rather than just for the benefit of shareholders. »
It isn’t easy to become certified but for Full Stop, striving for their certification wasn’t a challenge but a pleasure. They welcome feedback because they’re dedicated to their mission.
Even for small businesses, Lauren recommends the certification, because to go through the impact assessment means “small businesses have access to frameworks and ideas that they wouldn’t normally.”
Recommended reading: Everything you need to know about becoming a carbon neutral accounting firm
Embracing technology for future success
Lauren has understood the role of technology in business since her time at university. Her early roles centered around efficiencies and processes in industry refined that focus.
Innovating for the future
Careful not to grow complacent, Lauren knows that while technology is immensely helpful in the accounting industry, the hard work of human innovation is not over. People need to continue to think creatively.
“The accounting industry needs to up their game”, Lauren says. “I am quite passionate that all industries need to up their game with the proliferation of tech, and not just rely on it. We can do better, design better, and think a few steps ahead. I think as an industry we have got to do that rather than just rely on the solutions that are coming out. I think there is still more innovation needed.”
Total Xero award
Full Stop were the 2022 winners of Xero’s Total Xero award. Every single one of their clients is on Xero and well prepared for the changes the UK MTD laws will bring, that require all businesses to use digital accountancy practices.
The award is a recognition of the hard work Full Stop have put in to make sure their clients stay on the crest of the technological wave.
Bringing Karbon into the fold
The partnership between Karbon and Full Stop began in January 2018. It was changing up their email approach that first brought Karbon onto Lauren’s radar.
« There is always one thing in a system that makes you sign. With Karbon it was Triage. One of our team members said, ‘Lauren, I don't care what else you do, but sign up to Karbon because I want it just for Triage.’ »
But aside from being able to triage emails, it was also being able to see all of a client’s communication in one place that meant Lauren and her team could safely eliminate in-house emails. “Just knowing that without doing anything crazy with emails, you can go to a client’s name and see all their emails was a game-changer.”
They could be sure that nothing was being missed and that everyone talking to clients was armed with all the information.
Because Full Stop has such a high level of care for their clients, they’ve built out workflow templates in Karbon to make sure their processes are standardized and consistent. To give an idea of the detail involved in Full Stop’s basic package for their clients, there are 12 over-arching processes, with those processes comprising over 2000 tasks in Karbon.
Sustainable business, sustainable future
Sustainability, both economical and environmental, will never stop being important. Lauren and her team at Full Stop are excited to continue the great work they do helping their clients and community.
In a world that desperately needs people committed to something bigger than themselves, Full Stop is making sure that they take care of business, and some.
Eliminated internal emails completely
Built, standardized and customized all their processes to ensure consistency and scalability
Streamlined access to all client communication