Peter Jarman & Co (PJCO) is an accounting firm based in Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Founded by Peter in 1989, PJCO is now one of the fastest growing firms in the country and Intuit’s UK Firm of the Future.
As one of the top-rated firms on QuickBooks Online ‘Find an Accountant’ service, they are continuously growing their team and client base across the UK. And they put this extraordinary growth down to their use of cloud accounting.
Here’s how PJCO have implemented technology in the last 3 years to accelerate growth and increase their staff to client ratio by 15-20%.
Moving Beyond Manual Bookkeeping
PJCO first started using Receipt Bank in 2016 after learning more about it at QuickBooks Connect and Accountancy World. Before Receipt Bank, SME Business & Tax Manager and Chartered Certified Accountant, Kayvan Khoroosi, described their bookkeeping processes as messy and old-school.
“Receipts were not being put on the system, and a lot of our clients would do their bookkeeping themselves. Now, they don’t have to keep hold of their receipts, and have peace of mind. Once they take a photo of a receipt, they don’t have to think about it again. They’ve really embraced the change,” says Kayvan.
However, there was a real turning point when they started to see how Receipt Bank could add value to their service. “One of our clients runs a hotel, and used to store their information in big paper folders. Each quarter, they would give them to their prior accountant to sort through. Inevitably, there would be things missing. They were probably missing out on a lot of tax they could have been claiming, particularly as they used both personal and company cards for purchases", says Rowan van Tromp, Cloud Services Manager.
From left: Kayvan Khoroosi, FCCA, Peter Jarman FCCA, and Rowan Van Tromp
“As soon as we introduced Receipt Bank, their life changed literally overnight. With the mobile app, it was so much easier to keep on top of things. They could capture things instantly and not have to worry that expenses were being missed. In short, it saved both of us time and reduced their tax!’
Since PJCO rolled out Receipt Bank across their entire client-base, they are now growing between 20-30% year-on-year. “60% of this growth is due to our software. If we didn’t have it, we would not be able to grow as quickly. Our staff have more than doubled in 18 months thanks to Receipt Bank,” says Rowan.
“Our staff have more than doubled in 18 months thanks to Receipt Bank." - Rowan van Tromp, Cloud Services Manager
Increasing the client to staff ratio by 20%.
With the time-saving efficiencies of QuickBooks Online and Receipt Bank, PJCO have been able to take on more clients from all over the world, as well as reducing the time spent to service each one.
“With technology like Receipt Bank and QuickBooks Online, we are now able to serve 15-20% more clients. We host webinar meetings with clients all over the world. Plus, the data entry work we used to do in Excel used to take a few hours per week per client. Now, that’s all done automatically,” says Kayvan.
“Receipt Bank made life a lot easier to go out and get more clients. We no longer need to type anything out ourselves. It’s accurate because it’s being read by technology, plus it’s stored in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about where it is.”
Preparing for Making Tax Digital
Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a new piece of legislation set to come into effect in the UK from April 2019 onwards. When Making Tax Digital was first introduced in 2016, PJCO used it to help push their clients to embrace cloud technology.
They are now prepared for the change, and this transformation is also helping them win new clients from other practices who have not adapted their systems for MTD.
“A lot of our new clients are coming in who first heard about MTD not from their accountant, but from the 2018 Budget in November. Now, many of these businesses are being proactive and changing accountants in order to become compliant,” explains Kayvan.
Finding Talent Through Technology
In their Firm of the Future promotional video, it quickly becomes clear that PJCO pride themselves on their talent.
“We have 12 team members aged 24 or younger in our firm. They are recent graduates, who are enthusiastic, know the online world well, and pick up the apps really quickly,” says Rowan.
“We always have applicants because we’re using technology so well. It’s a game-changer, and they want to be ahead of the game." - Rowan van Tromp, Cloud Services Manager
Furthermore, unlike many firms who struggle to find new talent, large numbers of applicants are attracted to PJCO due to their use of cloud technology.
“We don’t struggle to recruit. We always have applicants because we’re using technology so well. It’s a game-changer, and they want to be ahead of the game.”
Making a Difference For Clients Who Need It
Rowan is also the Finance Director of Norwich Food Hub, a not for profit run by volunteers to tackle the environmental cost of food waste and hunger in Norwich. Rowan uses Receipt Bank to systemise key processes to enhance efficiency day-in, day-out.
“If we go back to where it started, we were filling out paper forms to get the weight of food and understand what had been collected. That was just not scalable. That’s why we moved to online systems,” says Rowan.
“Now, we at PJCO are remotely involved and use Slack to communicate regularly. We use QuickBooks Online and Receipt Bank in the background, so that volunteers can submit receipts and get expensed quicker if needed. It makes submitting and chasing that much easier.”
A Tech Stack for Every Client
With around 600 clients, PJCO work with businesses who wants to use cloud technology and grow their business.
“We are not looking for clients who bring in a bag of receipts once a year. Instead, those who want monthly reports and budget forecasts for the year ahead,” says Rowan.
“We also recognise that not all clients need budget forecasting. That’s why we’ve developed a modular tech stack for each industry, focused on their specific needs. For instance, for non-profits like Norwich Food Hub, we use dedicated project management apps.”
This modular tech stack means they can roll out processes that are at once personalised and standardised.
Becoming the best online accountancy in the UK
Setting high targets has been key to the long term success of PJCO. For example, their aim was to become Intuit’s Global Firm of the Future. In 2018, they became Intuit’s Firm of the Future for the UK.
“When we were announced as winners, the feeling was unbelievable - especially as we beat a lot of very talented competition. To be number 1 in the UK is a special achievement. As a result, the whole office environment has changed. We are now getting new enquiries daily as a result. Thanks to a sharp increase in work, we’ve also recruited 4 new graduates onto our ACCA Graduates training programme over the last couple of months as well as a new head of online marketing.”
“Representing the UK at QuickBooks Connect San Jose was fantastic. We met so many professionals from all over the world and made some great contacts as well. It was the best place to be to see the innovations from Intuit and many of the other providers like Receipt Bank.”
Now, the team at PJCO are looking to continue their extraordinary growth, open two satellite offices around their headquarters, and become the best online accountancy practice in the country, offering their clients the best possible service.