Most Innovative Accountancy Firms of 2016
Lewis Ballard Limited is a firm of accountants based in Cardiff, providing consultancy and advisory services to SMEs throughout the UK. As a company of 24 people we offer a holistic approach to our clients, including business development advice, business coaching, tax planning, inheritance tax services, trusts and wealth management.
We help our clients at every stage, from starting a business to their exit strategy, ensuring they maximise results as well as protecting and retaining as much of their income as possible throughout their business journey. Alongside this we provide routine compliance services such as Accounts, Tax, VAT and Payroll.
Our Dental and Healthcare clients make up approximately 40% of our businesses. This specialist knowledge has been developed over 30 years and is embedded in our systems. We have strong links with bank managers, solicitors, IFAs (independent financial advisors) and many other professionals which of course means we have the contacts to help our clients succeed.
We act for a full range of professions including surveyors, electricians, restaurants, hairdressers, high-net worth individuals and several celebrities. We find that whatever sector they operate in, business owners often face the same issues and that’s where we can help.
In regards to the company’s ethos, our approach differs from many other accountants. For a start, we don’t just give our clients the numbers; we explain what they mean and how to improve them. Our main focus is to add value to their business and balance to their lives, by asking them what they want and finding ways to help them achieve it.
Balance isn’t the same for everyone, if a business is great, but they have no family time, we help them to build a business that gives them more. If, however, they are happy with their life balance and just want to concentrate on building up their bank balance, we help them maximise their profits.
Many business owners pour everything into keeping their business afloat, but don’t have two brass pennies to rub together personally and even worse, end up with nothing at all to retire on. We make sure they get the rewards their hard work and endeavour deserves both now and in the future. We look at the whole picture to help clients structure their business and personal financial affairs to have the success their hard-work deserves.
We consider what’s happening in all areas to provide the resources clients need. By becoming both Xero and Crunchboard Gold members we can bring them the most innovative cloud accounting and business analysis solutions and up to the minute advice. We also work closely with external experts T4C to give clients access to grants that help with business development costs and TICN for training on how to successfully invest in the stock market to grow their personal wealth.
As well as our highly skilled in-house Chartered Tax Advisors we also refer to external tax specialists to find bespoke tax solutions. We also have links with excellent IFA’s, Solicitors and Bank Managers, who provide the specialist support our clients need. In short we look at the whole picture and encourage clients to do the same in their own businesses and personal lives too.
As a business our main focus is on making a difference and that includes for our team. We train and develop them not only professionally, but also personally so they have the skills to connect and understand what our clients need and then the tools to deliver results. They are highly qualified, amazingly committed and brimming full of ideas to continually improve our clients lives. They are all a great reflection of what Lewis Ballard is all about and we are very proud of them.
In regards to the challenges the company will face in 2016 and beyond, operating in the accountancy industry has never been more challenging. Major changes to the way HMRC requires information to be submitted are impacting businesses and they are turning to their accountants for solutions.
RTI was the first change to the payroll system for 70 years and this has quickly been followed by autoenrolment pensions, with quarterly digital submission of accounts and tax looming in 2018. In this constantly changing environment the traditional ways of doing business are unsustainable and accountants who cling to the past could soon find themselves irrelevant to their clients.
Embracing the most innovative solutions is without doubt the best way of making you stand out from the crowd. This enables us to provide the information and advice businesses need to react swiftly to any downward trends and to pounce with confidence on any opportunities as they arise.
Constant innovation is vital if we are to keep businesses ahead of change and as a team we constantly assess what we offer to see if it meets our clients’ needs. By challenging the perception of the services accountancy firms can provide to businesses we have helped businesses prosper during challenging times, so they in turn can create jobs and stimulate the local economy.
Through the internet and cloud technology the world has become a small place and competition therefore can come, not only from local competitors, but also from global organisations offering cheap solutions to small business owners. In the millennial generation new businesses owners are looking for a different approach. Their lives have been built around quick, easy and inexpensive solutions at their finger-tips, so they could be easily seduced by these offerings. By incorporating these new technologies into a more valuable and effective business consultancy service, accountants can appeal to and communicate with this new generation more effectively.
We are totally blown away by winning this award. We realise that the world of business is a whirlwind of change and we need to keep ahead of things to ensure our clients’ businesses keep prospering. The challenge to stand out in a crowded market place will remain throughout the 21st Century and only with dedication to continuous innovation to improve both the services we offer and the ways that we market them will accountants remain relevant to our clients.