Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Anna Melton established In the Works PR in 2011. The company works with local, regional and national organisations delivering marketing communications and media relations.
By her own admission Anna is not good with numbers and worries about managing the financial side of a business were always at the forefront of her mind. Originally she appointed a South Yorkshire-based accountancy firm to manage the company’s finances, however, in January 2013 she received a late tax penalty out of the blue, realising her fears and prompting her to move to Mitchells.
Since then the company has grown, she’s gained a business partner and an employee.
Here, Anna Melton Director of In the Works PR explains how working with Mitchells has given her the confidence to expand her business:
“I set up the company in 2011 and whilst I know a lot about PR I can’t say the same about accounts. For a couple of years my accounts were handled by a firm based in Rotherham but I realise now that their practices were quite outdated and not suited to the modern business environment. They weren’t happy to use Dropbox for instance and wanted me to save my accounts to a memory stick and put it in the post together with receipts, bank statements, signed documents etc, which was really time consuming.
The crunch came when I unexpectedly received a late tax penalty letter. This threw me into a panic and I spent all of Christmas Eve on the phone to HMRC myself trying to work out what had happened. When I finally spoke to my accountant he was very blasé about the situation and, worse, there was no apology.
I’d previously met Laura Pain, Mitchells’ small business expert, at a networking event run by Destination Chesterfield. I was immediately impressed with how personable yet professional she was. She didn’t speak to me in jargon that I didn’t understand and she clearly had an understanding of small businesses and the fact I needed a bit of hand-holding in financial matters.
Having now experienced Mitchells’ service I recognise that my original accountants were stereotypical ‘bean counters, who literally number crunched rather than proactively offering advice and suggestions of how to help my business grow.”
How has working with Mitchells helped you manage your accounts?
“The PR industry is an extremely fast-paced one, often meaning that I’m is called into meetings at the last minute. So having a local accountant that is on my doorstep means that I can pop in whenever I need to – or vice versa, Laura often pops into my office too which is another big help.
Before I began working with Mitchells I was left to chase late payments from clients on my own and just hope that they paid. Laura gave me a solution to recover late payments which has proved highly effective and, more importantly, doesn’t sour the relationship between me and the client.
Working with Mitchells has given me confidence that my accounts are being handled properly, which means that I can focus on working for my clients and growing my business.”
How has your company grown since working with Mitchells?
“In February 2013, I began looking into employing an additional member of staff due to an expansion of my client base.
I knew nothing about National Insurance (NI), tax or employee benefits. Before I even placed the job advert I met with Laura to work out exactly how much I could afford to pay someone and what systems needed to put in place. Laura arranged for me to meet with Mitchells’ Tax and Employer Solutions Manager Liz Fisher reassured me that Mitchells could handle everything.
Liz set up the payroll, monthly payslips and correct tax code. She also informed be that the company’s National Insurance contributions would be zero, which was music to my ears as we need to keep outgoings as low as possible.
Because the process of employing someone was, and continues to be, so straightforward it has given me confidence to make further appointments in the business.”
What are your company’s plans for the future?
“Following a recent move to a bigger office we now have the space for another member of the team.
We’re currently recruiting for an additional full time member of staff and because it was such an easy process last time, thanks to Laura and Liz’s support, I have no concerns about expanding the team further.
As my business grows I know that Mitchells has the people, services and infrastructure to support the growth of my business. I believe the next step for my business is to use CloudMitchells and potentially access grant funding. I’ll leave that up to Mitchells to advise me though!”