As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea what I wanted to be, and if you’d have told me when I was at school what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t believe you. I was very shy but heavily influenced by my father, who was a business and systems analyst, and my first ‘boss’ who was a very charismatic accountancy recruitment entrepreneur.

Where had the got to during your later studies (or not, as the case may be)?

I learnt on the job, leaving school after A-Levels and going straight into the workplace. Since then, I’ve been very keen to learn continuously, I read avidly and have mentors both inside and outside the accountancy profession.

When did you move into accountancy; why and how?

I started in an accountancy recruitment company at the age of 19, being given responsibility (directorship) very early running a finance team for a fast-growing company, and learning first-hand how hard it is to get a company from start-up to £6m and then being part of an MBO. After a career in London, I then had a family and joined my husband in building an accountancy firm of our own.

How important is accounting in your role – and how has being an accountant helped you develop in your career and as a person?

Accounting has been the core of everything for me for most of my working life either directly in my role or now it is the industry our company is centred around. Working in another industry and in general practice, has given me incredible insight into what a business owner needs to know to build a successful business.

Business strategy, risk management, credit/cash management, pricing, people management, economic factors, geo-politics, business analytics, technology integration, requirements for R&D/innovation grant funding, change management, marketing strategy, networking skills, presentation skills, public speaking… the list is almost endless of what I’ve learnt along the way!

The driver for me is working with micro and small and medium owner-managed and family businesses that don’t get the attention they deserve.  Technology has changed that, and I’m excited about the possibilities it gives us to serve our marketplace better in the future.  I think we’ve just scratched the surface.

Catch the full article in the XU Magazine here

A phrase heard at an accounting conference led Nikki Adams, director at Ad Valorem, and her managing partner to change tack in their approach to running their practice and now, with AdvanceTrack’s help, they’re reaping the rewards

Nikki, tell us about your practice

We were a traditional practice in terms of our offering – although myself and managing partner Nigel Adams came from industry. Our practice did the same as others for the first eight years, but we got fed up – we weren’t making enough money and it was hard.

After attending a national accounting conference, we changed our focus, and our mantra became making the business ‘scaleable and saleable’. We set out to create a £2m practice… clients wanted tax so we looked to build that as a specialism.

Our practice is more advisory-led and includes a strong R&D tax claims service. We also consider ourselves more commercially-focused than many other practices.


When did you start using AdvanceTrack, and why?

As a practice we’d struggled getting our head around ‘the cloud’ at the start, and how we’d implement it. We were frustrated and a bit behind the curve. Then we set up a ‘Millennial Club’; under-25s who said what they thought the practice of the future would be – and they’ve led our cloud offering.

In 2016 we started bringing in cloud clients and convert existing clients. We now have ten new clients a month coming in.

The only way to handle this was having the AdvanceTrack offering to manage our rate of growth.

We’re very open with clients as to how and where the work’s done. If clients want advisory, we’d rather them spend money on advice than their bill being simply for putting a set of accounts together.


What impact has AdvanceTrack had on the running of your practice?

It has enabled us to allow more junior members of staff to access clients earlier in their career – becoming ‘client managers’ as ‘assistant accountants’. Even a trainee will have a portfolio of clients for whom they’re responsible. Our consistent message is we want to have client contact.

We see our teams as having a client manager, assistant accountant, trainee and then AdvanceTrack supporting them as part of that team.


What is the future for your practice? What are you looking to achieve, and how?

We know that offshoring didn’t work for us, so the benefit of AdvanceTrack is that it is up to (AdvanceTrack MD) Vipul to get the right people – we don’t directly have that concern about talent.

We also know that the accounts production side of things is taken care of. We can fill the ‘client hopper’ without worrying about capacity. It then enables us to pay our staff well, which is crucial in a very difficult recruitment market.

We want to get to £10m in revenues seven years from now. We wouldn’t be able to contemplate this without knowing that AdvanceTrack is by our side every step of the way.