Elizabeth Sanders Case Study
Elizabeth Sanders Limited
Business Accountants, Windsor
Elizabeth Sanders set up her accountancy practice offering pro-active business accounting support in Windsor in June 2013. As a new practice, she knew she would have to differentiate herself from all the other accountancy firms in the Thames Valley area, some of which had been there for generations.
Within 6 months she had won 2 awards from the prestigious ‘Entrepreneur’s Circle’ – one for ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ for October 2013, the other for ‘One to Watch 2014’. What gave her the momentum to make such rapid inroads into the Thames Valley business community? MyFirmsApp chatted to her about the strategies she has employed.
MFA: What did you do to make yourself different from all the other local firms?
ES: As you can imagine, when I gave up my full time job as an employed Management Accountant, I was more than a little nervous about taking those first steps in self-employment. I had many years’ experience in Management Accounting roles, so I was confident of my ability to do the job, but when you start a new business, there is so much more to learn. You need to get on top of marketing, advertising, preparing a business plan, understanding the numbers, finding new clients and setting up a new website. The list is endless. So I joined the local Entrepreneur’s Circle and quickly realised that if I was going to succeed, I needed to be and do things that were typical of an accountancy firm.
For example, I created a flyer in the form of a Wild West ‘WANTED’ poster giving details of a special offer for new clients and a list of the services I provided. It worked and made me hungry for other things that would give me an edge over other accountants. I was like a sponge, absorbing as much as I could, attending seminars and conferences, and implementing as much as I could. So when I went to the annual CIMA MiP (Members in Practice) conference and heard the presentation from MyFirmsApp about your Apps for accountants, I knew I wanted one!
MFA: And has it worked for you?
ES: Oh yes! As soon as my App was ready, I showed it to everyone at the next Entrepreneur’s Circle meeting. They were very complimentary and everyone downloaded it immediately! I’m sure that helped me win the Entrepreneur of the Month Award.
I have been delighted at the reaction people have to my App, too. Whether they are friends, family or potential clients, I only have to say ‘Oh, and I’ve just launched my own App’ and you can see they are impressed. That recognition that I’m doing something out of the ordinary is so exciting and rewarding.
The other thing I really like about the App is that it has features that help me as much as they help my clients. For example the Receipts Management feature helps my clients keep track of their expense receipts and, in turn, that means I don’t have to spend time sifting through bags of receipts.
The mileage calculator too is proving to be a very helpful tool for me and my clients. Like the Receipts Management tool, it provides a Win-Win for both sides.
MFA: And how do you see the App working for you in the future?
ES: To be perfectly honest, I’m sure I have only scratched the surface of what the App can do for my practice, so far. I know I can use it in lots of other ways – Push Notifications for example will help me keep in touch with my clients better. But as a new business, it’s one step at a time.
All accountants say they are ‘different’, but often find it difficult to explain what the difference is. Having an App has given me something tangible that clearly demonstrates I’m different.
As my Business Growth Advisor at the Entrepreneur’s Circle said “Elizabeth is a Management Accountant and if you can imagine your typical stereotype for this profession, Elizabeth is the polar opposite of this!” Praise indeed!