Name, title & company name?
Mike Brown, Business Development Director, Geo-Environmental Services Limited
In a five words or less, tell us what your business does?
Geotechnical and environmental consultancy
When did you know that you wanted to set up your own business and what made you finally take the plunge?
Our Managing Director had worked for a number of geotechnical and environmental consultancies practices until 1996, when he saw the opportunity in the rapidly expanding housing market at the time to set up by himself.
What’s the best thing about your job?
My job is very varied, which I love. There’s a new challenge every day, but it helps that I work with a great team of people.
And the worst?
Of late the additional costs for businesses from a wide range of sources and all of the work and specialist knowledge needed to process these, have become greater. Managing costs and keeping track of finances can be a headache.
Why did you choose KPMG Small Business Accounting?
We needed to improve some of our internal processes around payroll and pensions auto enrolment in particular. We needed specialist expertise and a firm that could guide us through the growth we were experiencing and any new legislative challenges that came our way. The KPMG Small Business Accounting software and service seemed to offer just the type of capability and business insight that we needed at that stage in the company’s development.
How have KPMG Small Business Accounting and your dedicated KPMG accountant helped you?
For us the key benefit of the service and having a dedicated accountant is that we now have so much more transparency and understanding. Our dedicated accountant has been fantastic in helping us understand how our accounts work and putting in place a payroll process that works for us both. We are now in a situation where we are developing and interrogating KPI’s and getting a much firmer handle on the financial management side of the business. Whilst there have been cost savings from using the KPMG Small Business Accounting service, these are secondary to the big wins which are the increased understanding of how to manage our finances and an increased control of our fiscal policies.
What one thing do you think the Government could do to help small businesses?
Small businesses are more susceptible to economic peaks and troughs as they have not got the critical mass and cash reserves to deal with them. We need a stable environment to operate in from a policy standpoint, but I feel that there has been so much change over the past few years and not enough support for small businesses. Brexit naturally springs to mind as an example of this.
Who do you most admire in business?
Ove Arup – I think that he built an extraordinarily successful business, whilst maintaining strong ethical principles and a fresh forward looking agenda
If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be?
At the moment, cash is king! In times where the market is more stable it’s important for small businesses to build their cash reserves in preparation for the more uncertain times ahead. Businesses that have done that now, will likely be benefitting from the increased financial flexibility and ability to look at opportunities that their competitors may now be shying away from.
What’s next for your business?
We are entering a very exciting period for the business as we are looking to diversify into different markets. However we want to do this in a very controlled way. The great thing about the KPMG Small Business Accounting service is that we’re now able to build cash-flow and balance sheet forecasts and measure key metrics with a much more educated view. I can also distribute a proper monthly board report to the management team, which is a great asset and starting point for discussions around growth opportunities.
If you hadn’t set up your company, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I’d be setting up another company. In my opinion there’s no future in being an average artist and musician.
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