Meet the supplier: Clark Howes

Starting up in Oxford? Meet the Oxfordshire-based accountancy firm that prides itself on adding value to businesses with a proactive, tailored service...

Name: Tony Sarin
Company: Clark Howes
Address: 2 Minton Place, Victoria Road, Bicester OX26 6QB
Website: www.clarkhowes.com
Key services: Accountancy, financial outsourcing and business growth services
Founded in: 1996

Who are you?

Clark Howes is an award-winning firm of chartered accountants and business advisers. We can help you run and grow your business through expert advice that goes beyond that of traditional accountants, taking the time to get to know you, your business and your plans for the future.

Tell us about your firm. What makes you different from the rest?

Good accountancy advice is vital to the running and growth of a business. That’s true for every stage; from being a start-up, through the early stages of trade, and onto being a large corporate or a multinational.

But, however large or small your business, your accountants should add value. We do this by asking the right questions and getting to know the ins and outs of your organisation. We learn about how you operate and then suggest improvements and pathways to growth.

Unlike other firms, many of our accountants have come from real business backgrounds so we can honestly say that we know what it’s like to run and grow a business day-to-day.

Who are the key members of your team?

This vision starts with Tony Sarin (chairman) and Tim Shaw (managing director), bringing with them over thirty years’ experience running, managing and investing in businesses. Our team of dedicated client managers will work with you through the often difficult early stages of starting up; supporting your growth and development.

What size of business do you work with best?

We don’t qualify our clients by size. We have specialist teams who work with all different types of clients; from small one-person operations through to larger corporates and multinationals. As your business grows your accountancy and financial needs will change. We can meet those needs no matter what your size.

What services do businesses use you for most?

We provide all the services that you would expect from a firm of accountants – year-end accounts and compliance, bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and tax returns etc.

However, where we are really able to add value is through our additional services; things like business structuring, tax advice to make sure your business is as efficient as possible and proactively identifying operational improvements to help increase your bottom line.

We don’t just want to see you once a year when it is time to do your accounts (though if that’s all you need then that’s okay too!). We want to work closely with you as a proactive partner to help improve efficiencies and identify pathways to growth.

How much of what you do could businesses do for themselves?

We take the hassle out of your finances so you can focus on what you do best – running and growing your business. With Clark Howes, you don’t just get a set of accounts at the end of the year, you get a dedicated accountant and a whole team of professionals who can support you day-to-day.

What common problems/scenarios does your firm solve?

  1. Efficient business and share structuring. With all new clients we first conduct a full business review to ensure you are structured as efficiently as possible. Having the right structure can potentially save you thousands in tax long-term.
  2. Remuneration structures and personal tax. We make sure that your personal finances are structured efficiently, as well as your business.
  3. Bookkeeping and software. The right software package can save you valuable time and help you operationally. We can conduct a full review of your internal systems and make sure your processes are seamless.

Tell us about one of your clients and what you’ve done for them:

We worked with Paul Duval Dip Cii, managing director at Vision Independent Financial Planning. He said: “We started working with Clark Howes earlier this year after a new company formation. Straight away, they reviewed the business finances and company structure to make sure we were set up as efficiently as possible. They have provided us with commercial advice that has directly benefited the business as a whole and we are very impressed with the technical ability and commercial acumen of the team.

“Having advisers that we can trust to manage all aspects of our business and personal finances lets us focus on development and growth rather than the day-to-day. The level of personal service we have received has been very impressive and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Clark Howes.”

Are you expensive? Tell us more about your pricing structure:

We aren’t a one-size fits all accountancy firm, so all of our fees are quoted based on your individual needs. With Clark Howes, you get added value as standard. Our annual fees include:

  • A dedicated team of commercial accountants
  • Personable, down to earth staff
  • Full telephone and email support
  • Regular deadline reminders
  • Proactive tailored advice – we come to you with thoughts and ideas
  • Programme of free seminars, webinars and networking opportunities
  • Range of practical business guides
  • Regular and timely updates on changes to legislation
  • Access to a comprehensive network of business professionals
  • Flexibility to work with the software you choose

How long have you been based in Oxford?

Established in Oxfordshire in 1996, we now also have offices in Buckinghamshire and London.

What business resources in Oxfordshire would you recommend?

www.fabaccelerator.com is Oxford’s new accelerator for ambitious entrepreneurs and startups. Well worth a look.

www.oxfordshiresoup.org – Grassroots funding at its finest, Oxfordshire SOUP is live crowdfunding meets Dragons Den for small businesses.

www.reciprocateox.org is a responsible business group helping Oxfordshire businesses get involved in their communities.

www.jenningsbusinessmentors.org is a free service for business owners, run by business owners. It is the only business mentoring service in the UK which is free, confidential, independent, and where the mentors are exclusively current business owners.

What are the first five steps for start-up businesses setting up in Oxfordshire?

You should think about getting the following in place as soon as possible:

  1. Banking
  2. Insurance
  3. Legal requirements
  4. Company structure/Remuneration structures/Pension commitments
  5. Cash flow plan

For more advice on starting a business in Oxford, click here.

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