Online accountancy success and expansion for Streetwise
9th June 2014
A management accountant who set up his own practice purely to support his own business is now serving more than 120 clients and planning further expansion in the months to come.
Mark Ingram is also planning further expansion at Streetwise Business Accountancy as he looks for more staff and more space. But he emphasises that growth will be gradual, geared to the ethos of adding value for clients and also taking full advantage of the facilities and flexibility at The Deep Business Centre in Hull.
Mark, the company’s Managing Director, said: “We didn’t really start growing until we moved to The Deep in 2009 and decided to start taking on clients other than my own businesses.
“But we’ve grown from zero to more than 120 clients, from three staff to 12 and by about 30 per cent per year in terms of turnover.
“We expect to take on two or three more staff soon and we will be looking into expanding into more space at The Deep.”
Streetwise was only the second tenant to move into The Deep when it opened a business centre next to the award-winning aquarium on the banks of the Humber.
Mark, who was originally a management accountant with Asda in Leeds, had launched Streetwise in Beverley in 2007. He embarked on the first phase of expansion after identifying a need among small businesses for someone to help with such tasks as accounts, bookkeeping and general administrative duties, and he invited clients to use his online services.
He said: “I expected us to grow but maybe we’ve surprised ourselves a little. We’ve got clients in a variety of sectors, their turnover ranges from around £100,000 to £5-million and whereas some of them are one-man operations we also do the payroll for a client with 250 employees.
“Because of that range we need a high degree of flexibility. We always knew that we could expect to be busy when our clients are busy but that there would also be quiet times if they were struggling with the recession, so we developed a service which we can increase or reduce according to their needs.
“I suspect we’ve worked from most of the suites at The Deep during our time here, and that flexibility is one of the big attractions. I know that if we need to take on another five or six staff over a period of time to take care of a particular contract then we can be up and running very quickly.
“All the infrastructure is here, which means I’m able to concentrate on bringing in the right staff, in the same way that our work leaves our clients free to concentrate on running their businesses. Our online services mean clients can view their financial information at a time which is convenient to them.”
Mark’s staff are from the Hull area and are carefully selected: “We look for dynamic individuals who we can train and develop in the long term. We work as a team and we don’t have a big turnover of staff because they like working here. It’s great to have an attraction like The Deep right next door and we’re only a short walk from the city centre.”
Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep, said: “Streetwise are one of our great success stories and their development is a good example of how we can respond to a tenant whose requirements can change very quickly.
“As the result of a relocation by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service into a government-owned property we’re currently able to offer a suite of 4,400 square feet, but we’ve got more than 40 different businesses in here, many of them don’t need a lot of space and most of those who have grown started off in a small unit.”