I’m Nicola Hageman, and I’m not your average bean counter.
I wanted to help small businesses understand their finances and enable them to reach their potential. This has proved a winning formula and I have a growing number of clients who I provide forecasting and management accounts for in order to see the bigger picture for their business.
I started The Numbers Quarter (formerly Nicola Hageman Accountancy) in 2015 with an ambition to offer small businesses and sole traders an accountancy service that goes beyond simple bookkeeping, year-end accounts and VAT.
I appreciate the financial and operational challenges faced by many small businesses and as such I offer a fixed-fee service with monthly payment plans – there are no additional charges for telephone calls, and everything is explained in a jargon-free way.
TOO MANY MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Prior to Dext the majority of my customers would send me in their receipts which I would then have to enter manually into their accounts package or on Excel. Not only was this time-consuming, but inevitably clients would have lost receipts and missed opportunities to claim back VAT.
It also meant that I only had contact with the clients on a quarterly or annual basis and therefore I could be processing receipts that were 12-18 months old. This meant I couldn’t add value for my clients as these items were from so long ago in the past.
Small businesses are busy by nature, caught up in the day-to-day running of their businesses, securing sales. My clients were so busy that it often meant that they would be delayed in sending in their receipts and invoices. Given that I’m trying to support my clients in better understanding their real-time financial position, this was an issue – I had no advance warning on expenditure that may affect cash flow.
IMPROVEMENTS IN PROCESS
I’d been looking for ways to improve my processes and offer a better service to my clients, so I booked a demo with Dext and I haven’t looked back since. It was easy to set up, simple for clients to understand and it works!
The hardest part was getting my clients on board, but once I showed them a demo and they got chance to use the system they had nothing but praise for it.
I have a number of “service” clients, and adding Dext to their software means that I am able to provide them with monthly reports to show them exactly what money they have each month. Before, they would essentially have to guess and then I would true up at the end of the quarter or year. Not ideal.
Before rolling out Dext to my clients, I would spend ages logging receipts and invoices for clients before I could even look at reconciliations. This time cost has been significantly reduced, enabling me to take on more clients and grow my business. The whole system is great, but hearing that “ping” on my phone when a receipt uploads is particularly satisfying!
My clients are busy people so the ability to quickly snap a receipt or email over an invoice as soon as they get it means they can focus more on their business without that daunting “send receipts to accountant” task on their to-do list each month. Clients love that and consider it a feature of my service.
My practice is thriving and I am keen to grow the team so that The Numbers Quarter can support more small businesses and sole traders without compromising the quality of service.
Now that I am running my own practice, the love I have for my job is huge. I genuinely look forward to coming into the office in the morning! Not many people can say that!