Anyone who’s tried to navigate their way through the increasingly complex maze of tax and accounting knows how tough it can be.
Make a mistake doing your own tax return and you could be looking at an HMRC investigation (and possibly a fine). In other words, the best advice for any business is to find a fully qualified accountancy team that really knows its stuff.
This is where Paul Journeaux and Wendy Rose come in. Having first met in 1991, their joint experience covers more than 80 years. In short, when it comes down to accounting, it’s a case of ‘been there, done that and got the tee-shirt.’
Paul started the business during lockdown (no mean feat in its own right) and has already amassed more than 200 clients. He is also a member of the CPAA (Certified Public Accountants Association).
Being part of the CPAA means you’re dealing with someone who meets their high professional standards and regularly undertakes Career Professional Development (CPD) to ensure they’re always on top of their game.
‘It was actually quite difficult to start an accountancy business during the earlier stages of the lockdowns. There’s a lot of paperwork involved as you need to be registered with HMRC under the Money Laundering Regulations,’ says Paul.
‘The wait time for all of the correct authorisations was 45 to 60 days at the start of the pandemic.’
‘A newly formed accountancy business could not work during that time which meant we could chat with prospective clients and sign them up but couldn’t do any actual work on their behalf.’
Fast forward to the present day and I had taken a bit of time out to look through the Journeaux Tax and Accounts website before our meeting (I recommend taking a look for yourself: plymtax.co.uk).
It contains everything you would expect from an accountant: undertaking your assessments, VAT services and payroll. What I hadn’t expected were the depth of help they provide in areas around tax planning and business advice.
Sure, lots of accountants can offer similar services but I get a feeling that Paul and Wendy can provide an all-important extra ‘personal’ touch which you don’t always get when sitting in the plush surroundings of a large ‘corporate’ office.
‘We have built up a large number of smaller clients which allows us to make a greater positive difference for small start-ups looking to build their business following the lockdowns.’
Paul and I chat in his office over tea (strong, no sugar). He’s wearing a jumper reminiscent of Starsky and Hutch fame. I instantly warm to him.
Those of you of a ‘certain vintage’ will remember David Soul’s character in ‘Starsky and Hutch’ and how he always played things ‘by the book.’
Paul’s the same. Understanding and, more importantly, adhering to the complex array of tax rules is crucial for anyone in this line of work. There are no shortcuts here.
The added bonus is there’s no jargon. No confusing language. In fact, we quickly settle into a convivial conversation about rugby.
He’s Plymouth born and bred. His office is decorated with an array of photographs showing some of the finest views the area can offer (including one of Plymouth Sound which immediately catches my eye).
It’s obvious the city is a central part of Paul’s DNA. And so, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that he is a life-long fan of Plymouth Albion. We have a long conversation about rugby union. London Irish. Saracens. Harlequins. Bath. Bristol.
For me, it’s lovely to, finally, have a proper chinwag about a sport that I missed so much during the lockdowns. Chatting with Paul provides me with real hope that life is, perhaps, finally returning to some semblance of normality.
Watching rugby on the telly is one thing. Seeing it ‘live’ is something else. This is my first proper face to face real ‘rugger’ discussion since before the start of the first lockdown.
I find myself thinking about how much I’ve missed Twickenham (the real home of the sport).
In other words, I’m enjoying myself. I mentioned earlier that it was important to find an accountant who is fully qualified and belongs to a prestigious professional body.
I had forgotten the one magical ingredient to include in the mix: the ability for that person to chat with you on a human level. Getting the job done is crucial for any business. Paul does that.
He explains things in a way that isn’t too technical, but, perhaps more importantly, he’s also approachable, and I leave knowing his clients are in very safe hands. Plus, he does make one helluva good cuppa.