Your name and age: Nicola Fallon aged 48
Tell us about your family:
I have a blended family, with two sons from my first marriage, aged 23 and 21 and a stepdaughter aged sixteen with my husband Mark. I grew up with three brothers and am from a large family with have 12 aunties and uncles, and 34 cousins!
What is your business and what does it offer?
My business, Virtual Accounts and Taxes Ltd, is a bookkeeping and accounting practice. We offer:
- Bookkeeping/accounting services
- Payroll Bureau Services
- Tax compliance services (VAT, Self-Assessments, Corporation Tax Returns)
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I was a Payroll Manager working for a global risk and insurance company, Jardine Lloyd Thompson. I was made redundant in September 2020 and came up with the idea of setting up my own business during my notice period. I was looking at opening my own payroll bureau at first, but after researching online what other people in the area were offering, I found out about Ideal Schools and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and decided to get the qualifications I needed to get a bookkeeping practice licence with the ICB.
I did 12 exams in 12 months (during the pandemic and lockdowns) and I also started 2 contract Payroll Manager jobs during that time as I still needed to earn money. It was a lot of learning to do and all done remotely, which wasn’t always easy. The support from Ideal Schools was amazing though, they managed everything so well and the tutors were always on hand if I needed assistance.
However, now I have launched my business, I think the studying was the easy part!
When did you launch?
I launched the business on 2nd August 2021
How did you get started?
I got my practice licence in June 2021, but there were still a couple of qualifications I wanted to get before launching the business, which enabled me to offer a full range of accounting services.
I also knew nothing about setting up in business, about marketing, sales, becoming an employer etc, so I gave myself a couple of months to set up systems and processes. I had previously joined a group called “The 6 Figure Bookkeepers Club” and I signed up for their “6 month Success Programme” in March. This gave me all the tools and support I needed to set up my own practice and I set a launch date of the 2nd August.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
I love the freedom it gives me to help more than one business and the flexibility I have with my own time, I can work around my family commitments and I’m not tied to a desk from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I run my business from the family home, so I am always around whenever the family need me. My youngest son also works in the business, I tend to work during the day and he works in the evening and weekends to fit around his life. I also hope to have enough clients soon to be able to employ my brother too, who will be able to work from his own home.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
I want to be able to take a salary out of the business that equals the salary I was earning as an employee, but I also want to grow the business to employ others and provide training and mentorship to young people who are interested in a career in finance. I am really keen on education and qualifications and it is something I would like to encourage with anyone who works for me.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
Owning a large practice with more than 20 employees who are qualified or studying for qualifications. I want to set up systems, processes and employ people who can work flexible hours from home as everything is virtual/online. I want the business to be running itself within 5 years, so I don’t have to work so many hours!