Arden Bookkeeping – Interview with Claire Bartlett
Arden Bookkeeping Founder, Claire Bartlett
One of the key drivers for me personally setting up my own business was the flexibility to make my work fit around my family (as opposed to the other way around). So I'm always fascinated to talk to other parents who've experienced a similar journey. And that's what Claire Bartlett, founder of Arden Bookkeeping did. She shared her story with us here.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
We help micro businesses with their bookkeeping, payroll and company accounts. We offer a way of staying in control of your company finances with up to date information so you can always ensure you are making the right decisions for your business.
I run the business solo.
What makes you different to your competitors?
We specialise in using the best software out there to make your accounting function as easy and stress free as possible.
Using cloud functions allows us to work in a paperless and flexible way allowing you to keep on track of your accounts from anywhere. We work with you and are as passionate about your businesses success as you are.
What inspired you to start this sort of business?
I started Arden Bookkeeping after having our daughter and needing some flexible working hours. I had worked in the industry for over 15 years and knew I had the skills and knowledge to succeed on my own. The accounting industry is a very hard industry to find flexible opportunities in and I wanted to be there for my family as well as maintain my career. I am now incredibly proud to be able to offer my staff the same flexibility in their working hours as I needed myself back then.
2020: What a year! How has the pandemic affected you?
It has been an incredible rollercoaster of a year for us. We had to become experts in furloughing overnight and ensure we kept our clients up to date with all relevant government schemes and guidelines that they could benefit from. The guidelines were changing almost hourly at points so this was a very difficult and stressful time for us but It was important to us to support our clients as best we could.
Because of this and being more than just an accountant to them through the tough times this has led to us gaining a huge influx of clients moving from less proactive accountancy firms.
I think this year has shaken up the whole accounting industry and many business owners have not felt the value of their accountant when they needed them the most. It has been a terrifying prospect for so many that they may lose their business and the support and guidance from their bookkeeper will have been critical in having the insight and knowledge to plan for the future survival of their livelihoods.
What do you love most about running your business?
I love being able to see my clients flourish and their businesses succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
It is a fantastic feeling when we have worked closely with a new business, helping them reach their targets and to see them grow from nothing to a hugely successful, profitable business.
And what are the toughest challenges?
Taking the leap into recruitment and moving the business from being just myself to an actual team was daunting but something I have never once regretted.
This is an area I think a lot of micro businesses struggle with and the age old battle of do you find the work first or the staff first has never truly been answered. It is definitely the area I have had the biggest learning curve, it is very different being on the other side of the interview process but the one thing I have learnt when it comes to recruiting is to always listen to your gut, it always knows who the right candidate is.
Can you share one piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself and do it! There are a lot of people worried that now is not the right time to be setting up in business but I have seen so many successful start ups being formed this year and think there is never ‘a right time’. If you have the passion, drive and a good bookkeeper behind you then you will succeed.
Thank you so much, Claire!