May 18, 2023

Episode 79: Julie Wilkinson of Wilkinson Accounting Solutions

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The Story

It’s fascinating when you get the opportunity to hear the powerful and valuable insights from the leader of a large finance team, responsible for the financial reporting of a £250 million turnover business, who decides to drop that to start her own accounting business, grows it quickly, organically, and who then begins to acquire other firms in order to accelerate the growth of the firm.

Well, that person is Julie Wilkinson of Wilkinson Accountancy Solutions. She joins us on this podcast discussion and shares valuable observations around marketing, how capacity comes before growth and the challenges and processes needed to ensure that the systems are right in a high-growth business. She also shares her views about the importance of having a strategic reset every 13 weeks with the whole of the team.

Fascinating conversation, useful insights. I hope you’ll join me on this Humanise The Numbers podcast and check out my discussion with Julie Wilkinson.

Please also scroll down this episode page to find the contact information for Julie and additional, downloadable resources mentioned in this podcast.

The Solution:

We have brought on an Auto HR portal this year, so I think we are probably turning into a business with a more corporate mindset. I do believe in the end, if you want to grow a successful business, with a team, you have to have a bit of a corporate mindset.

We don’t have overcomplicated rules, but it’s important that everyone understands the structure, process and goals and knows what they are working towards.

My overall goals cascade down to Tilly, who is my right-hand man. He's my Greek CFO, and I tell him my goals because, outside of Wilkinson’s, I do have some investments and property, so I have my own goals.

I have a level of income and cash I want the business to earn, obviously including the internal overhead. He then has his targets for the consultancy clients and then we aim to always try and make a 35% margin, which is hard.

This margin does go down when we're investing in acquisitions, purely because of the costs involved in it, but we build back up and track those one-off costs, so we know what the margins are.

Then we build these goals and this structure into people's day-to-day objectives.

The purpose of the team strategy day is really to show the team where are we going because sometimes we'll have fewer consultancy clients due to the fact we are still in a growth phase. We also have to make sure we have our own risk strategies in place.

As a team, we have so many detailed discussions day-to-day, but the strategy day is just more about our overall aims and goals as a business so that we all know we're on the right track.





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Resources relating to this podcast:

Julie has recently started her own Podcast called Build and Exit. Click the button below to access the podcast.

Julie runs an accountancy firm that specalises in business acquistions and exit strategy planning. She has grown her business dramatically over the last 18 months and has gone from one to 18 people in that time.

Julie now runs a quarterly strategy day with her 9 full-time employees. This is a day away from the business where they can talk about its challenges and its overall goals and aims. Having a whole day away means it gives everyone a chance to contribute.

Doing this ensures that Julie and the leadership team can plan the strategy for the next 3-4 months. Given the rapid growth of the business, Julie readily admits that she still has KPIs to work on, but the strategy day happens every quarter, no matter what.

Good strategy planning is essential for your firm to have focus and direction.

Click the button below to read the Business Breakthrough report 'Good Strategy'.

Julie and her team recognise that good strategy is not a shopping list of desirable goals and objectives, but that the right strategy helps you work out the biggest and most important challenges your firm is facing. Knowing the challenges helps inform your choices, gives you real focus and helps you decide on the appropriate coherent actions.

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