SJD Accountancy

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After two years at the top, Trustient has been knocked off the top spot, with SJD Accountancy named the new Small Firm of the Year.

SJD Accountancy has proved its mettle in the world of accountancy, developing a solid business model and client base, while capitalising on its specialist services.

The firm has grown exponentially since managing partner Simon Dolan established the business 12 years ago. Gross fee income reached £1.4m for the 11 months to 30 June 2004, rising from £377,000 in 2001, representing a four-fold increase in fee income and net profit between June 2001 and June 2004.

Fee income per employee rose from £54,000 in 2001 to £73,000 this year, a key factor enabling the firm to recruit and retain a high calibre of staff. Its client base has expanded from 300 in 1999 to around 2,000 this year, illustrating the firm’s success in adding value by retaining and winning new clients.

A Romaya of Keysense Ltd said: ‘I have already recommended SJD to two of my colleagues and feel more assured that Keysense Ltd is on more solid ground regarding accounts preparation.’

The firm has also achieved success in informing clients about the complexities of IR35, as well as dealing with the issues involved.

Steve Flood of Via-Data Consultants said: ‘Thanks for the info on IR35? as far as I can gather you’re definitely way ahead of other contractors’ accountants.’

For the Small Firm category, judges were looking for firms that provided unique services for their clients, setting them apart from competitors, something SJD has done extremely successfully.

In 1998 the firm decided to specialise in the provision of services to small companies in the IT contractor and consultancy professions. With a client base of high-earning professionals primarily working in IT, telecoms, engineering and the gas and oil industry, which are looking for the minimum amount of involvement with their accountants, SJD has successfully conducted 95% of all communication electronically, ensuring speed of response.

Given the nature of its client base and its ability to carry out work electronically, the firm’s physical location is of less importance to existing clients. However, not wanting to alienate clients that wish to conduct their work face to face with their accountants, SJD has set up regional associates.

Giving the regional associates a financial interest in the practice has enabled the firm to recruit more highly-qualified and experienced accountants and stem the potential for high staff turnover.

The firm now boasts regional offices throughout the UK. The business has also developed a network of ‘virtual’ offices allowing them to offer meeting facilities in more than 100 locations.

Setting up these offices will prove invaluable as it moves to the next stage of its five-year development programme, which includes entering other areas of operation, as well as increasing its market share within the existing niche market.

The firm’s achievement in winning this year’s award was ultimately put down to its clear ‘drive and ambition’ and foresight in capturing a niche market.

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