Ivybridge Accountants are your local accountancy firm covering Ivybridge, Plymouth, and South Hams. Director, Simon Jilks has grown the business from two employees to now a team of 8. A recent expansion to the business has seen the team grow as they have now opened a new office in Kingsbridge, rebranding to Kingsbridge Accountants at the end of August. We spent some time chatting to Simon about his history as an accountant and how Ivybridge Accountants was set up.
Ivybridge accountants were set up on 1st November 2015 when company director, Simon Jilks took a leap of faith and finally set up his own firm after nearly 30 years experience in the accounting industry.
His previous working history of accounting started at the age of 16 when he finished school in 1990. Upon finishing school, Simon knew that he didn’t want to work outside or in construction, but ultimately had no idea what would work for him.
“I kind of fancied the idea of going into finances; I thought well I’ve got a bank account, how hard can it be?…”
At the age of 16, not knowing anything about finances or tax, he secured his first full time job after interviewing for several different firms in The Midlands where he grew up.
Subsequently, Simon was a trainee at the firm for 3 years before moving to Warwick to work for another firm. He had the opportunity to study for the AAT (Association of Accountant Technicians) exam, which allowed him to gain a qualification in accounting when he didn’t have a degree or A-levels.
The move to Warwick saw a natural progression in the firm, where he trained and looked after trainees that came through the door. Later becoming Head of the accounts department where he was carrying out accounts preparation as well as looking after 5 members of staff.
Simon remained at the firm for around 8 years before making the life-changing decision to relocate to the South West in 2001.
Despite being promised a partnership in Warwick, Simon focused on the opportunities open to him down in the South West and took the leap to find him working at a small accountancy firm based in Plymouth where he was able to finish his ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) qualification that he had previously started back in Warwick.
After various roles at accountancy firms in Plymouth and years building up a strong client portfolio, Simon decided he wanted to fulfill his goal of setting up and owning his own firm away from the corporate world and focusing on local businesses.
His career in the finance industry saw him working at relatively small firms from 5 employees up to 20, but with his last firm merging they now have in excess of 200 employees, Simon felt it was the time to stand on his own two feet and go it alone, his way.
Setting up a business in the South West can be hard, with a huge array of businesses to compete against; but this didn’t stop Simon. With around 400 clients and only 4 years down the line he has an office space with 8 staff in Ivybridge and expansion is in full swing.
“It’s not about size, it’s not about growth. The vision has always been providing something that bigger outfits tend to overlook, it’s the ability for someone to come in and sit down to have a chat about their accounts without worrying about a big bill or sounding silly or being afraid to ask, that’s the vision.”
Ivybridge Accountants provide an array of services – everything from basic requirements such as your day to day stuff like payroll and bookkeeping. To handling accounts and tax returns which is seen as all of the normal compliance stuff.
“Planning forward is a big thing.”
More recently the focus has been on making sure their clients stay ahead of the curve. With everything moving digitally, the rise of cloud based accounting solutions is rapidly increasing.
Changes imposed by HMRC have resulted in businesses needing to become compliant with new software and their till systems. Simon has ensured that he is always ahead of the game by informing his clients of any changes they need to make, as well as supporting them during these changes.
Tax is becoming digital and people need to be on cloud-based software. Ivybridge Accountants offer three types of software for their clients to choose from depending on what they want – including Xero, Quick Books, and Free Agent. They can retail this software to clients and train them on how to make the best use of them.
“They’re all slightly different, all costing slightly different amounts, but in the end, they all do the same job.”
Every member of staff is put through relevant training so that they can help every client in the best way possible.
Simon and his team are on hand to help you with your accounts, whatever it is you need, they are always there to help you out in any way. Whether you need bookkeeping services, payroll, retirement plan, succession planning or general account handling and tax returns – Ivybridge Accountants are your local accountancy firm there to help when required.
“We operate an open-door policy, I don’t want clients to feel like they can’t email or phone. Clients can come in and sit here for as long as they like, and get the advice they need.”
Earlier this year Simon was approached about expanding to Kingsbridge and with the Ivybridge office thriving it was a no brainer. In August, they are set to officially re-brand the Kingsbridge office to Kingsbridge Accountants with the view to provide local services as they do in Ivybridge.
With a strong team in Ivybridge and growing team in Kingsbridge, Simon is more than happy to invest in his staff and their professional qualifications. He is keen to develop his staff and put them on the most appropriate training courses and sponsor them with qualifications such as the AAT as it will help benefit the firm.
“Someone trained me once and someone spent some time and effort and put that into me. I’m all for investing in staff”
It’s amazing what has been achieved by Simon and his team in 4 years, and how that’s expanded organically and progressively with the staff, and now the expansion to Kingsbridge.
Ivybridge Accountants stands as your local accountancy firm, there to take care of any needs you may have, big or small. The firm stands on the values that it doesn’t matter what size business you are if you’re a shoe shop, web developer, farmer or IT company – any business is catered for with Ivybridge Accountants.
For more information about Ivybridge Accountants, the services they offer and their expansion to Kingsbridge contact them through any of the details below.
Call us: 01752 895648
15 Erme Court, Leonards Road, Ivybridge, PL21 0SZ