The Business Owner: Pulse Accounting, Chris Futcher
The entrepreneur explains why approachability is an essential characteristic of a firm and how they compete in a crowded marketplace
Company: Pulse Accounting
Founders: Chris Futcher
Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
Proposition: Accountancy for contractors made easy
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Pulse Accounting is an online accountancy service built just for contractors and freelancers but what makes use stand out is our innovative and cutting edge technology (we partner with FreeAgent), backed up by a super friendly team of experts and helpers.
We offer three subscription-based services that cater for complete novices all the way up to experienced business owners who don’t need quite as much hand-holding, or require a more complex solution. All of our services ensure maximum tax efficiency while providing complete peace of mind regarding tax and compliance.
How did you finance your business?
We started our business with external seed funding, then were self-financing over the next five years and now. Recently we have raised a second round of funding to achieve our three-year growth plan.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
I always keep track of the cashflow, the number of clients and churn rates.
All three are essential if you are to evaluate the health of the business and identify issues quickly. You can’t survive without a healthy cashflow, you can’t grow without new clients and it’s essential to understand if you have satisfied clients.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
The biggest day-to-day challenge is ensuring that we continually strive to provide the best service possible in a crowded marketplace. Our attention to detail and customer service is the key to our success.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
If it’s relevant to the business, exporting could be a great opportunity to develop the business. Our services are mainly focused on the British market and contractors so we have no plans to expand overseas in the near future.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
The Trello app is very useful and we use it to manage projects internally.
It’s great because no matter where I am I can check in on the status of projects we’re working on, collaborate with the relevant team and because of its simplicity everyone can get involved and feel included.
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Efficient, trustworthy, approachable.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
In the past years, we have seen increasing legislation around agencies and the temporary workforce supply chain that is creating barriers for contractors and increasing their costs. It also makes it harder for businesses to access the flexible workforce, which is such an important part of the economy.
I’d like to see recognition from government and HMRC that contractors are a critical part of the UK workforce and not just employees or an easy target for HMRC. Contractors and their families have a difficult enough time with the stress and pressure which goes hand in hand with the temporary nature of their work, and UK business needs access to a skilled and motivated temporary workforce to deliver business critical projects and programmes.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I definitely admire people who build businesses that can really transform the way people do things and that have real personality. FreeAgent has done that for my business. They have a great product and great personality. They are easy to engage with and have what appears to be a solid culture of customer service, backed with an excellent product and a clear technology roadmap.
So I guess Ed Molyneux and Olly Headey, the two founders of FreeAgent, would be my current heroes!
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
We want to become the number one accounting solution for contractors and freelancers and sustain continued growth over that period.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making a profit?
We always keep a close eye on our financials and we are constantly working on improving our business model while finding the best solutions to satisfy our clients’ needs. However, reacting quickly and decisively to external changes is critical.
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