The view from

Sanjay Sah FCCA, director, Makesworth Accountants, and former teacher who believes in giving back

I began studying for the ACCA Qualification in my native Nepal. Since childhood I have been good with numbers and wanted to pursue a career in accounting. I did it the hard way – self-studying – before moving to London and finishing my exams with FTC Kaplan in 2006.

I initially taught accountancy before establishing my own firm. During six years at a medium-sized practice in Harrow, I progressed to become a practice manager. I took the plunge to set up on my own practice in 2014 and five years later we have three offices in Harrow, central London and Ilford. Most of the employees are ACCA-qualified and our business is thriving. I am delighted to be shortlisted for this year’s British Accountancy Awards.

Growth is being driven by referrals from existing clients, on QuickBooks, VouchedFor, Google and our own site, generating 80-100 new leads a month. Our digital marketing team promotes us on social media, while we raise our profile at business expos and by supporting local charities. I aim to grow annual turnover from £600,000-750,000 to £1m-plus. Our client base comprises more than 500 limited companies and 200 sole traders.

I took great pleasure from helping a new client who had been left with incomplete records and was facing an HMRC investigation

Technology is having a big impact on how we do business. The implementation of Making Tax Digital (MTD) has forced many companies to evaluate how they operate, so we have adopted cloud technologies and use QuickBooks, Xero, Practice Ignition, FreeAgent and SageOne. Many clients are concerned about HMRC’s IR35, MTD and VAT domestic reverse charge. It’s a challenge for my contractor clients. I am working hard to educate them about the changes, provide solutions and keep them on board.

This job can be very rewarding. I took great pleasure from helping a new client who had been left with incomplete records by their previous accountant and was facing an HMRC investigation.

Everything I have achieved is due to ACCA. It gave me an opportunity to come to London and build my career.

It is important to give back. I promote ACCA in London as a member of the Harrow Network Panel, while I have established a college to help ACCA students in Nepal.

In brief

GT consolidates

Grant Thornton has sold its wealth advisory unit to Standard Life’s financial planning and advice division, 1825. Dave Dunckley, CEO of Grant Thornton UK, said: ‘It is clear the wealth advisory team’s growth potential would be best delivered by a business focused solely on the financial advice market. The team’s clients will undoubtedly be better served through 1825’s approach and proposition, with the businesses sharing a natural alignment in values and goals.’ KPMG is meanwhile considering the sale of its UK pensions advisory service.

Cooper Parry quits PKF

Midlands-based firm Cooper Parry has left the PKF network. Cooper Parry chief executive Ade Cheatham explained: ‘Having doubled in size in the past three years to £40m, our plans to grow our business came into conflict with those of the other member PKF firms in the UK. With the PKFI emphasis on territorial exclusivity, a concept that we believe is now outdated in a fast-changing world, we felt our ability to grow within PKF would be severely curtailed. Leaving has enabled us to open up quickly in London, as we pursue our plans to scale quickly to £100m-plus within the next couple of years.’