One of the reasons I decided to set up my own business was because I want to support multiple businesses. Therefore whilst setting up Enrich Accounting I have spoken to local businesses owners to understand their views on their individual industries and how the accounting sector impacts them.
This blog has been created following an interview with Andy Neilson, owner of Twisted Orange. Twisted Orange was founded 5 years ago by Andy’s wife to offer commercial and sales support in the food & drinks industry by providing a consultancy and training service. Afterwards in early 2018, Andy transitioned from the corporate world and joined the business to add his experience within the procurement and supply chain world to enable the business to offer a broader service.
Adding some zest to your business!
Andy describes Twisted Orange as “quirky”, with a people/client focus, trying to make the services fun! They are able to offer bespoke consultancy and training services to anybody in any industry. Andy enjoys the opportunity to build new client relationships and impart his extensive knowledge from 25 years’ experience onto others.
Moving from the corporate environment, Andy has been pleasantly surprised how the world has moved on. The flexibility of his clients is different to his memories of the corporate world. This has influenced how Andy’s working patterns and behaviours have adapted over the last couple of years.
A key factor in Andy joining Twisted Orange was to support his recovery from health concerns. His new role enabled him to start working in a different way, supporting his creation of a coping mechanism. Having control of his destiny is extremely powerful, giving Andy drive and determination to make Twisted Orange a continuing success.
I am very grateful to Andy being open about his mental health, as Andy describes himself as a shy character. His ability to conquer this when providing consultancy or training services is by treating his role like that of an actor. It’s something he can throw himself into, using a guise to take his services forwards.
When looking for a consultant, clients usually require some trust in the expertise of the business. This is particularly easy for Andy to evidence! Andy won a CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply) award in 2008 for the set-up of a procurement supply chain function. This is an award Andy is extremely proud of, having been recognised by his peers in the procurement sector. In this case they are the ideal group to understand and judge his achievements!
During my interview with Andy, he offered his opinions on both the consultancy and accounting sector by answering the following questions:
What inspires you?
My main inspiration is seeing someone whose utilised our services making a success of their idea. Our goal is to deliver added value to our clients, where they can benefit from our experience and training in our respective fields. We’re not money motivated; we take greater pride in the satisfaction of a job well done and getting to know our clients. I’ve also become a bit of a “sponge” learning from the different clients we have.
What is your favourite memory at Twisted Orange?
When I landed my first contract as a consultant, mainly because it wasn’t someone that I approached. My previous colleagues and friends were wonderful in recommending our services to businesses they worked with. As a result, one of these recommendations became my first client. Above all, this gave me the confidence that starting this new journey was the right move, and helped my mental health recovery.
How has Coronavirus impacted the business?
It has varied the way we deliver our services. Previously the majority of training provided was face-to-face, but this had to all be cancelled or postponed. However, this turned into an opportunity for us, as the ability to deliver training virtually has now become more acceptable. From a client perspective this is less intrusive. They can remain in the office, and the amount of time taken out of the business can be as little as 2/3 hours, instead of 1/2 days when factors such as travel are included.
Our delivery method has changed though, as we are unable to impart information on the same basis with online training. This is because we are unable to have the same levels of interaction with the trainees.
What do you think will change in your industry over the next 5 years?
I think the ways of working will change, with more virtual and strategic work. I also believe there will be an increased focus on sustainability and the importance of mental health, as these go up the social agenda significantly.
What do you know now that you wish you had when you started your business?
When setting up the business I wish we had known more about company structures, vat registration (and when to apply) and various financial information. When we set up the business we spent a lot of time on Google for research.
How do you measure business performance?
The main metrics we use are cash flow and turnover. As there are only 2 of us in the business, our main aim to be financially sustainable. Any client proposals we receive have services tailored for their requirements, enabling us to look at taking on projects based on merit.
What do you find most challenging from a finance perspective?
All of it! That’s why the accounting sector exists, as you need expertise in this area. I’m happy we outsource this work, and we are lucky that our accountant is patient with me, and helps us to ensure we understand how to update Quickbooks, our obligations to HMRC and our financial results.
Are there any products/services you use that you would recommend to others?
Quickbooks as it’s easy to use, and our accountant can access the records to complete the necessary work. We use it for basic requirements, but it fits well with our needs.
What finance changes would you like to see in future?
Vat and taxation are quite convoluted, I would prefer more basic systems. If we started a business again I would like a set of top 10 tips from HMRC, of what to look out from a tax perspective for sole traders and small companies. It would also be good if there was just one register of local accredited accountants.
What is your view of the accounting sector?
They play an important role in your business as they add significant value, knowledge and expertise to your business. They aren’t there to just provide year end accounts, so use them to get advice. When looking for an accountant speak to some of their other clients for referrals, as similar to the procurement and HR functions, you need to build up trust.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I regularly play golf, with a handicap currently of 12. My aim is to reduce this back to 9, which is where it was 2 years ago. Going to concerts is also something I enjoy (although not recently!), with my favourite bands being Faithless and Linkin Park. I was lucky enough to see Linkin Park’s last ever concert in Birmingham.
I would like to thank Andy for his time being interviewed, and if you or anyone you know requires any consultancy or training in the marketing, procurement, sales or distribution fields, you know who to contact:
If you or someone you know requires any mental health support, you can contact the following for help and guidance:
Mind 0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness 0300 500 0927 www.rethink.org
Samaritans 116 123 www.samaritans.org.uk
Sane 0300 304 7000 www.sane.org.uk/support
If you are a local business who would like to be interviewed or have any questions around finances or the accounting sector, please contact Paul here, or at Enrich Accounting on 07403 407455 or at email@example.com