Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Amanda Casey Started Her Business And Stood Out, As An Accountant With A Difference...

Amanda Casey who set up Lotus Accountancy Ltd has a motto, and it’s a good one; ‘I am an accountant with a smile’.

She says; ‘I don’t want to be the accountant you go and see each year when your accounts or tax return is due, I want to help any way I can and build a relationship with my clients so that they feel at ease asking for my help.’

And considering the fact that most start-up businesses are at risk of failing within the first three years, Amanda is keen to promote the fact that although people may be skilled in their business, they are not necessarily skilled to keep accounting records, manage cash flow, and all of the other things that come with running a successful business.

‘I know a lot of people don’t like to appoint an accountant when they start up in business, but if there was any advice I could give them, it would be to appoint an accountant as soon as possible to ensure you are aware of what is ahead, and can make the correct decisions.’

As well as offering all the usual accountancy services such as tax returns and annual accounts, Amanda also offers her clients advice on starting up their business; ‘With my clients I want to make sure that they get the best advice from the start so they have the best start in their business.’

Previous to starting her own business, Amanda was an accountant in a medium-sized firm in the City Centre. Here she managed a diverse portfolio of around 300 clients and managed and trained a team of 4. Amanda admits that setting up her own business was never something that she really thought about, but had always wanted to be an accountant. ‘From a young age I was taught, as we all were, to do well at school, get qualified and go out and get a job. I studied for nine years and began working full time, then got settled in employment and thought I was in it for the long haul.’

But it was two years ago that Amanda began to feel unhappy in her situation, she was working 60 to 70 hours every week but although she was working harder than ever, with the cost of living rising, and her wages flat lining, she wasn’t moving forward; ‘I found myself thinking; Is this what I have spent all of those years studying for?’

At this point a friend introduced her to Arbonne, a range of skincare products made using natural and botanic ingredients, and a business model in which Amanda became a partner and representative of. Working on this business Amanda says: ‘It was when I started my Arbonne business that my eyes were opened to the power of time leverage and the fact that the 9-5 grind of a job was no longer the only option.’

From here Amanda realised the possibility of self-employment and began taking the steps towards setting up her own Accountancy firm. She came to one of The Women’s Organisations Business Club Networking events and learnt about the services that we offer, with support from RBS Inspiring Enterprise, and then set up a meeting with Business Advisor John Jones; ‘He helped put my ideas into action and I put together a business plan and started to connect with people I knew in business who could benefit from my services.’

She was able to find clients and get her started doing freelance Accountancy work 2 days a week. ‘Starting out on my own has been one of the scariest things I have done to date. After being employed for as long as I have, and being reliant on the monthly pay cheque, I felt all the emotions you would expect; anxious, fearful and nervous, but I knew these were all part and parcel of stepping out of my comfort zone.’

‘With the help and support of my friends, family and The Women’s Organisation, and a positive mind set, I have felt the fear and done it anyway.’

Amanda was particularly lucky in finding a Business Advisor like John Jones who is also a qualified accountant. She says; ‘He has been amazing, and has pulled out all of the stops’. Although Amanda had knowledge of setting up businesses from her role as an Accountant, she struggled with other areas of the business, particularly Social Media;

‘John ensured that I had the guidance and information I needed to fill my voids and set up a one to one with the fabulous Jo Austin (Digital Media Co-Ordinator), who talked me through LinkedIn and the possibilities around using this as a business tool and platform for my business, which left me so excited about the possibilities.’

Although it is still early days for the business, Amanda is finding that things are going well and has enough clients to keep her busy and is excited about the future. She says that one of the best things about running her own business is the flexibility it offers; ‘Not only with my time, but the flexibility to run my business the way that I want it to be run’, and establishing the right relationship with her clients which she believes is paramount; ‘I no longer have to conform to somebody else’s ideas and views on running a business.’
Lotus Accountancy Services (with the name being inspired by the Lotus flower which symbolises new beginnings) and The Women’s Organisation look to be firm friends for the future as Amanda is passionate about the work that we carry out; ‘Women are still so under-represented in business and I love the fact that The Women’s Organisation is there to help empower women and help them to become the amazing women that they all are. My dream is to empower as many people as I possibly can to be the amazing person they truly are.’

And any advice for those who are thinking about starting their own business; ‘100% go for it! There are no right or wrong decisions in life, just lessons to be learnt, so if you have that fire in your belly to get out there and do it yourself, then get yourself out there, get an appointment booked at The Women’s Organisation and get all of the information you need to get the ball moving.’

‘There are so many people out there working each day in a job that they hate, not realising that this affects them in other areas of their life, and most people are capable of so much more. So find your passion and go out there and get the advice and help you need to get started – because it will change your life.’

If like Amanda you would like to set up your own business, then get in touch with The Women's Organisation to find out what support is available to help local women. Whether looking for guidance on how to build a business plan, understand tax, national insurance and other legalities, or gather practical tips on how to use social media to market your small business, contact 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk to find out more. 

RBS Inspiring Enterprise is encouraging a more entrepreneurial culture. From the classroom to the boardroom, RBS are inspiring and enabling enterprise at every stage of the journey. As part of this, RBS has committed to inspire and enable 20,000 women, by the end of 2015, to explore and unlock their enterprise potential. Inspiring Enterprise is encouraging more people in more communities, to explore enterprise, build their skills and start up and succeed in business. 

If you would like to find out more about Amanda, her incredible passion for life, and the work that she does with Lotus Accountancy Services and Arbonne, then you can use the contact details below. And if you would like help, advice and support, like Amanda received from The Women’s Organisation, then get in touch with us by emailing hello@thewo.org.uk or phoning 0151 706 8111

Photo Credit: Kate Williams 

T: 07789645144

T: 07789645144

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