Bobby Lane is a chartered accountant at Shelly Stock Hutter LLP, he is a specialist in providing consultancy for start-up businesses, and he is there to help struggling companies get back on track.
First of all Bobby, why are you so passionate about helping start-ups?
Having a great business idea is one thing, but taking the big leap to making it happen requires guts, courage and determination. I know how hard it was starting my outsourcing practice and I want to be able to give advice to our future entrepreneurs so that they avoid having to deal with some of the issues that I did. Helping businesses at this stage is not just about crunching the numbers it’s about being a mentor and hand holding business owners at this exciting (but also sometimes scary) stage of the business. Seeing my clients’ business grow and flourish (perhaps when it has struggled in the past) is the reason why I love my job so much.
What is Shelly Stock Hutter LLP?
Shelley Stock Hutter is a unique practice which has combined the skills found in a successful audit and compliance chartered accountancy practice with a commercial outsourcing business. The firm was established in 1989. Since then, the firm has helped thousands of businesses in the UK set up, grow their business, get struggling businesses on track. It also has a terrific track record of ensuring businesses get funding from banks or other providers.
Growing my outsourcing business within the firm. In 2003 I was one of the first accountants to provide a back office outsourcing service for SMEs. It meant that they didn’t have to employ a full time Finance Director or Financial Controller. Twelve years on, the outsourcing business has dramatically grown and now accounts for the majority of the new business for the practice. The firm has been recognised with a number of awards and recently our social media accounts have been voted the most influential source in the UK top 50 for finance news and information.
What has been the hardest part of SSHLLP?
Getting the team right! We were developing a new type of practice that needed a different skill set far more commercial than traditional accountancy practices we were used to. So it took time to train and develop the quality team that we have today.
Financial issues can be a large pressure for start-ups. What percentage of the problems you hear are linked?
When starting, a business entrepreneurs will continually hear that cash is king! Well, it is. You can have the most profitable business in the world but if you do not have the cash to pay the bills then you will not last. All start-ups face financial issues whether raising capital at the beginning or having the right cash available for development. The key to successful navigation is in the planning. Never underestimate the value of a cash flow forecast
Businesscomparison.com was designed to help SMEs that are struggling with issues such as; cash flow. We compare the financial market, so that the best deals and rates are offered to them.
Do you think the market needs something like this?
I am all for services and products which enable SMEs to access finance either for the start-up or growth phase. Any service that provides an impartial view and some good guidance gets the thumbs up from me!
Would you recommend a business comparison site?
That depends on the site – as long as the site is carrying out robust measures to give fair and accurate comparisons and is genuinely independent.
What made you become an accountant?
My father – he was a successful businessman in the fashion sector. Whilst I genuinely considered following in his footsteps, he advised me to get a professional accountancy qualification as it would provide an excellent background and entry into all types of careers.
You have been an accountant for over 21 years now, what has made you carry on?
My day is never the same and never dull. I like the variation in the type of work and clients. I am still learning 21 years on and inspired by the people I work with and the businesses that I see.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spending time with my family and my dog! I also manage a youth football team.
Finally, Bobby what are your three main tips for start-ups?
– Make sure you have the right attitude for business – be determined, courageous and never lose the passion for your business.
– It may sound a cliché but remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Growing your business will take time and you must be prepared to put the hours in to make it happen.
– Find yourself a good mentor who you can get impartial advice from and can be that business shoulder to lean on. Running your own business is not easy and a great mentor is worth their weight in gold.