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TGt Meets... AMS Accountancy
We've been speaking to Swindon-based accountancy firm, AMS Accountancy, about accounting challenges in business, the impact of HRMC changes and much more. Here's what they had to say...
Tell us a little bit more about your business?
We are a firm of Chartered Accountants and our premises are just off the Great Western Way in Swindon. We have 13 staff altogether including 3 partners. There are 2 distinct sides to our business; we work with small/medium businesses in Wiltshire ranging from brand new start-ups to long established companies. And we also work with Contractor clients based around the UK.
Originally we specialised in accountancy for Freelance Contractors - they are people who work on short term contracts. They range from locum doctors to aircraft fitters and we provide them with monthly reports containing all sorts of information and advice, including a prediction of the tax they will owe. This suits most contractors because it provides an almost complete back office service.
What makes AMS different?
Since the set-up of our business, we have put our efforts into making things practical for our clients. Complexity of changes in law and accounting practices constantly put clients on the back foot and we see it as our duty to keep them updated without overwhelming them.
Some time ago, we decided that we would publish information that helps small businesses, rather than simply advertising. These articles, titled Ask AMS, have been so popular that we have even received fan mail! This led us to making videos and we now have a fairly well stocked library of films covering all sorts of questions asked by clients. This has only just been released but we’ve had great feedback so far.
What’s the biggest challenge businesses face with their accounting?
It depends on the business, but making sure you are disciplined enough to keep on top of your bookkeeping is often a challenge, especially for smaller businesses. And it is important to understand your bookkeeping system before starting to use it because many computerised /cloud-based systems describe themselves as easy-to-use, but are also easy-to-screw-up.
Keeping on top of your accounts is extremely important for businesses, what advice would you give to a start up?
Start as you mean to go on and be disciplined. No matter how tired, or bored by the idea you are, book in regular weekly/monthly time slots to do your accounts, and stick to it. If you don’t, then molehills become mountains. Also, give your accountant access to your accounts for the first few months to check that you are “doing it right” and correct any problems sooner rather than later.
Do you have a motto or favourite motivational quote?
Yes we do, it’s ‘A Company to be proud of’ it’s a mantra that we consistently check ourselves against.
What’s been your biggest achievement to date?
Surviving the massive changes made by HMRC in 2007 which were in danger of decimating our business. Every year brings new changes – new tax rules and laws but in 2007, HMRC changed the rules for accountants working with Freelance Contractors whereby it was suddenly not possible for us to control how our clients paid their taxes. We had 3 months to completely change how we ran our business and guide our clients through the complex changes. The result was that we turned our business round and within a year we were growing again.
Describe AMS in three words…
Down to earth.
Weather in Swindon