A for Accounting

In 2016 I decided to start an accounting firm to help entrepreneurs, micro entities and those thinking of starting a business get their accountancy needs done for a lot less than your average local accountancy firm would charge.

I decided to call it AccountsCheap because I figured it might as well do what it says on the tin.

But I shot myself in the foot.

This is because the top way all under-invested businesses grow, is by word of mouth (invested businesses grow faster by using aggressive marketing of all kinds – but that costs money).

The problem is, whilst everyone wants their accounting done cheaply, no one particularly wants to recommend a service they use with ‘cheap’ in the name – they feel it might rub off on them – even when the service is well beyond their expectations – which is what are clients our telling us.

So I listened, and as of March 2017, it has a new name: A4Accountants

The headline of this section is A4Accounting, which is how we arrived at the end result.

There are two questions you can ask of any name:

  1. Does it say what it is?
  2. Does it say what it does?

If you can somehow get both meanings in a single name, you’re laughing all the way to the bank because everyone will understand who you are and what you do.

So, “a for accountants” is what we are, and “a for accounting” is what we do.

We couldn’t think of any way to join this up, and so finally plumped for the more conservative choice – it is an accountancy firm after all 🙂

Update: 26th August 2017

After 15 months of operating A4Accountants, I decided to quit the business. It wasn’t due to a lack of success, we got plenty of clients, it was the SHEER COMPLEXITY of the British Tax system and the overwhelming responsibility I felt to ensure that every single client met every single law that I could foresee.

The problem is, the UK tax system is so complicated, it’s not possible for a single human being to know it all – and yet we’re expected to – since ignorance is apparently not an excuse (although an increasing number of test cases are proving the opposite I’m pleased to say).

Even though I’ve been involved in the accountancy business one way or another since I wrote my first piece of accounting software in 1982, I’ve never felt sorry for accountants (and yes I passed a bunch of exams myself finally in 2010).

But I can now happily say I feel genuinely sorry for them (the good ones that is).

If you’re thinking of starting a business, you have my sympathy when it comes to tax law. Tax is complicated, so complicated that the UK Gov set up the ‘Office of Tax Simplification’, and so far nothing has changed. SNAFU.

Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and which is still going strong today. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business focusing on online growth. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year in 2013. Quentin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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