Max Accountants are a firm of accountants based in Rutland, East Midlands. Rutland is England’s smallest and arguably prettiest county according to Wikipedia.
Founded in 2011 by Martin Hickman and joined by Lisa Devere-Summers a year later, Max Accountants has grown from 1 employee to 10 and is still growing. I interviewed Lisa, one of the directors, to find out more about Max Accountants and the people behind the business.
THE STORY BEHIND MAX ACCOUNTANTS
Martin trained as a Management Account and spent over 25 years working in Industry for companies such as Lex Vehicle Leasing, where he held a number of senior management roles including finance, sales and operations.
In 2011 Martin could see the cloud was going to have a huge influence on accounting and Max Accountants was established. In the early days Martin was running the show on his own; providing him with a great understanding of every task within the business. Lisa joined him the following year.
COMMITTING TO THE CLOUD 100%
Martin was one of the earlier adopters of Xero in the UK; Max Accountants is and has always been 100% Xero.
Receipt Bank joined the favoured Max Accountant cloud apps in 2012 with Tripcatcher following at the end of 2014. These apps are still very much core to the business today and are included in the fixed fee package to all clients.
Internally they are also committed to the cloud, using app such as:
- GoCardless for collecting recurring and ad-hoc payments;
- Practice Ignition for client proposals;
- Inform Direct, Company Secretarial software;
- And Xero Practice Manager.
Martin was looking to persuade a new client to move to Xero. This client was using different software that enabled them to record business mileage. Xero did not have the same functionality and after an Internet search Tripcatcher was found.
I remember meeting with Martin and Lisa at their offices, to demo Tripcatcher. My main memory of the demo is spilling my coffee all over their office carpet. However despite that they signed up for Tripcatcher in November 2014 and have been using Tripcatcher ever since.
And yes the client did move to Xero and Tripcatcher ☺.
Tripcatcher is provided to clients that do a fair amount of travelling for their business, for example their vet clients who are travelling regularly to see their clients.
I asked Lisa what type of client use Tripcatcher and what benefits does Tripcatcher give them.
Tripcatcher relieves the pain points of recording mileage especially:
- Its easy for clients to record mileage on the go, hence they don’t forget to claim;
- Tripcatcher automatically changes the mileage rate once the 10,000 miles is reached (when claiming HMRC rates) – saving Max time checking this;
- Tripcatcher also automatically calculates the VAT the company can claim on mileage – again saving Max time;
- Lisa also mentioned that Tripcatcher enables the user to claim the extra 5 pence per mile for passengers. Not many clients know about this.
A BUSINESS PARTNER
Using Xero, Receipt Bank and Tripcatcher has allowed Martin and his team to become embedded into their clients businesses. They work so closely with their clients that they know their clients businesses as well as their clients do. They don’t want to be simply a service-provider to their clients; they are seen as a business partner.
Max Accountants have a wide range of clients; their niche being High Tech new start-ups in and around Cambridge, predominately Cambridge Graduates developing research projects after been awarded investment funding.
Max Accountants, has built a specialised reputation due to Martin’s knowledge of Research & Development Tax Credits, Enterprise Investment Schemes, EMI Share Options and cash flow forecasting. This along with the cloud software on offer, which young technical minded entrepreneurs want and expect to use ensures Max Accountants, becomes a valued part of their client’s business.
DEDICATED TO DELIVERING A FIRST CLASS CLIENT SERVICE
Max Accounts have a strong sense of values and these are embedded through the business.The strap-line on their website is “dedicated to delivering a first class client service”.
Lisa told me that this first class service manifests in many ways, but one area is the accuracy of the information. Martin and the team are firm believers in getting the figures right so that decisions can be based on accurate information. They prefer to do their clients bookkeeping, as the bookkeeping is the foundation of all management information and needs to be correct; the cloud has enabled them to do this.
The time saved using cloud apps allows Martin and his team to communicate regularly with their clients; hence they can add real value to their clients businesses. They can use their financial expertise to help their clients run their business more efficiently.
The team at Max Accountants are looking to continue their growth to 15 to 20 staff, opening an office in Cambridge; and continuing to provide their clients with the best possible service.