A leading authority on start-ups and micro business support has stressed the importance of new businesses having a standard bookkeeper to manage the bookkeeping from the outset.
Tony Robinson OBE is co-founder of the global, free to join in, self-help community of micro enterprises, the Enterprise Rockers CIC.
He has spent more than 20 years developing national learning and support programmes to improve the survival and growth rates of new enterprises and has collaborated with the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB) on these programmes since 1995.
His expertise and work has been recognised by Lifetime Achievement Awards from the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB) as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations in 2012, and by Start Your Own Business magazine in 2013.
He insists an IAB qualified bookkeeper should be the collaborative partner of choice for self-employed people, whether that be employing one if you are a sole trader, or, if you are going into businesses with others, ensuring one of you is qualified to handle the books.
"Owners of micro businesses need to be completely focussed on the daily running of the business and keeping it afloat, and to do that they need advisers they can trust," said Tony.
"High on that list has to be a bookkeeper who can keep on top of the all-important cash flow while the business owner concentrates on the everyday matters involved in growing the business.
"As well as being perhaps the biggest single source of help, a bookkeeper can become a good friend and collaborator for a small business owner."
Tony emphasised that, with up to 60% of new micro businesses failing within the first three years, a bookkeeper should be appointed right at the outset.
"My key piece of advice for start-ups is that the first thing you have to do is look for customers," he said. "Once you have customers, then you can start to think about plans for the future.
"Online trading has moved things on so quickly that you can now run a national business from your front room, but you still have to be right on top of cash flow, tax issues, drawings, etc, and so you need to collaborate with a bookkeeper who can look after that while you find customers."
Tony added that the nature of many bookkeepers’ businesses made them an essential ally for small businesses.
"Many bookkeepers are running their own micro business," he said. "Many are one person businesses, who know the challenges you face when you start up on your own.
"Not only that but they will have a network of clients they can refer you to, or who they can recommend to you, helping build your business network.
"It really is a false economy not to engage a bookkeeper if you are starting out on your own."
Malcolm Trotter, Chief Executive of the International Association of Book-keepers, said that his organisation was on hand to help businesses find the right bookkeeper for them.
"We have more than 10,000 members around the world, all of whom either have an IAB qualification accredited in England by Ofqual or the equivalent," said Malcolm.
"All of the UK IAB members who provide services to firms are listed on our website in the 'Find a Bookkeeper' section making it easy for businesses to find the right bookkeeper to work with them."
Caption: Tony Robinson OBE
The international Association of Bookkeepers provides certified bookkeepers to small businesses both in the UK, Europe and Internationally. For more information visit the website.