Expert advice is essential when you are going into business on your own – and when you’ve never filled in a tax return in your life, a good accountant can make all the difference between success and failure.
So when Kelvin and Louise Hoad decided to buy a small but busy drains maintenance and servicing firm in 2005, one of the first things they did was to talk to HB Accountants.
Two years on, Ashbourne DMS Limited, based in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, is doing so well that they are buying a second van. That means nephew Calum Hoad can work for them full-time, allowing the couple to build up their client list.
Kelvin was a facilities manager and Louise had a part-time job with Tesco, in stock control, when they heard the firm was up for sale because the owners were emigrating.
Neither had any experience in the drains sector, but Kelvin had always wanted to be his own boss and they were inspired to take the plunge by a friend who was enjoying working for himself, and doing well financially, after buying a similar company.
It wasn’t surprising that they approached HB Accountants at an early stage in the process. Louise’s father, David Atkins, was a partner in the firm and has been friends with fellow partner John Neighbour for more than 40 years, although Kelvin and Louise had had no previous dealings with the company.
Louise says: “HB have guided us through the whole process of going into business on our own, and have always been very patient and extremely helpful.
For example, the previous owners had run the company on a self-employed basis but John advised us to make the firm a limited company, with Kelvin and myself as directors.
A lot of the support they have given us is to do with tax, both personal and the company end-of-year accounts, all of which was new to us. They send us plenty of reminders about tax returns and the letters they send us are always in plain English, not complicated jargon.
If you call them with a query, there is always someone there to help and I have never come off the phone without getting an answer.
We’ve come a long way and learned a lot in two years – when we started, I couldn’t even turn a computer on!
We wouldn’t have known where to start without HB. Now we have an excellent working relationship and I would recommend them 100 per cent.”