Chris Cheeney is the founder of CDC Accounting, and is the only accountant in the UK specialising in the beauty industry
Tell me about your background
I found myself just going off and working in various accountancy offices and basically putting myself out of the job. I was automating a process or making something better, then moving on to the next company. I really enjoyed it.
When I started CDC Accounting, we put in some very simple systems which now we call our five step system to profit. That’s our core sort of way of working — taking every business through each step to understand their business better.
I got my first 14 clients pretty much overnight, and then I thought, ‘How do I actually do this? I’ve never actually done a VAT return, I’ve never done payroll, and I’ve never done corporation tax’. That’s when I found Xero and Dext, and we implemented them for our business and the clients that we worked with. Every client that comes to us has to use Xero and Dext.
What do you think is the future of accountancy?
I do believe that computers will be accountants. But I don’t see myself as an accountant. Yeah, we’ve got an obligation to report to HMRC and Companies House, and we’ve got to do that in a timely way. We help our clients understand their tax, and things like that. But that’s just one side of things. But what our clients really need is to understand how their business is performing and how to improve it.
I don’t want to be working 24/7, and I think I don’t really want that for my clients either. You can get yourself into a lot of stress when you start a business. But I want my clients to realise what really matters in life, and the business is just a vehicle to provide — they’re not a vehicle for the business.
How do you set yourself apart from other accountants?
I don’t really compare us to anyone. I don’t really look over my shoulder. I’m just doing what I feel passionate about.
One of my biggest focuses is bringing people together, whether it’s in Facebook groups or live events. Events where we’re coming together and actually celebrating our success. But we’re going to be working towards our success on a monthly basis, or weekly basis, whatever we decide to do.
What do you and your clients think about the term ‘accountant’?
I actually don’t know what to call myself anymore. If somebody says, ‘What do you do?’ I don’t want to say an accountant. Because actually, when you say you’re an accountant, somebody will say, ‘Oh, I’ve got this problem with this property tax that my accountant has been talking to me about. And I don’t think they’re right. What do you think?’ And I say, I don’t really know, I don’t know much about property tax.
I am an accountant — but I’ve got Chartered Accountants that work for me. Actually, I don’t want to be an accountant. What interests me is bringing dreams to reality and living a fulfilled and happy life. You know, we do that by providing great accountancy service, but by also providing coaching.