Emma is one of the longest serving members of the Blue Rocket family, having initially joined in 2002 as part of the admin support team, Emma had a brief period away from the team before re-joining in 2011 and completing her studies to gain an ACCA qualification. Emma has one of the best commutes in the team, living close enough to be able to walk to our Dartford office!
Helping clients maintain orbit
Our teams at Blue Rocket are structured in a way that means we’re able to provide our clients with the best support for their business,whatever stage they’re at. I head up the Saturn team, which means I look after all clients with turnover levels of between £150,000 and £500,000. I’m also responsible for managing the team and distributing the work, so it’s my job to decide who’s doing what, and of course keep an eye on deadlines! I’m also Blue Rocket’s charity treasurer, which can get quite busy, but has been fascinating to be involved with.
People are sometimes surprised by the scope of my role, often you think of an accountant as just looking at numbers, but in reality, it’s much more than that (and not always specifically accountancy related!) We also deal with revenue, Companies House, pension companies and of course we are constantly nudging our clients to remind them to send information to meet deadlines.
If I were going to offer advice to anyone starting out as an accountant, I would recommend getting experience in a smaller high street practice that gives an all-round knowledge base and full grounding because you do everything. You’ll see corporation tax, personal tax,putting accounts together, bookkeeping, VAT and so on. The experience of doing the work in real life is invaluable and always slightly different to what the books tell you.
Clients rightly expect a lot from their accountant and as a team it’s our job to help; working with them to find a solution to a problem gives me a real sense of accomplishment. I’ve been here for so long I quite often end up chatting to clients from other teams and love being able to help them too if I can! I love the variety of the role, I’m never just doing one thing, there is lots on the go all the time.
Keeping all the balls in the air
There are certain times of the year that we know will always be busy! At the end of the tax year on 31st March, for instance, we have our biggest number of clients with year end and VAT returns, so we spend time working with them to make sure they get the information to us – whether that be via a digital platform or in a carrier bag! Once we have the information, it’s then up to us to prioritise and process to make sure we get everything done on time, for everybody.
Each month, we evaluate what needs to be done for each client, for instance VAT or payroll and use a system that allows us to make sure we’re prepared for what’s coming up - the earlier we can plan for it the better. It can be a lot of juggling, but that’s why we love it!
Helping to navigate challenging times
As the impact of COVID-19 began to be felt and lockdown began, initially our clients wanted reassurance, so we spent a lot of time talking them through what help was available to them, through email, telephone and our WhatsApp group. We helped clients understand each scheme and grant and the application processes, which in the beginning was a challenge as the information was changing daily.
Lockdown has been very difficult for many clients, particularly for small company directors that might have felt they were not offered as much support from the government as employees or self-employed.
In recent weeks this seems to have settled down a bit and quite a few of our clients are either planning to go back to work soon or have already gone back. I know one of our local clients was planning to bring their employees out of furlough in early June and already has orders lined up and work to be done.
Hoping for calmer waters
I think we’re all hoping things start to return to normal soon, I know personally I will be looking forward to spending some time by the sea, whether that means Southend-on-Sea or Santorini!I love holidays by the water and would love to learn how to sail – just a little yacht, nothing too fancy 😉