Meet the Mainyarders: Stephen Kelly founder of Stephen Kelly Tax Advice

Meet the Mainyarders: Stephen Kelly founder of Stephen Kelly Tax Advice

Welcome to Mainyard Studios, who are you and what is your business?

Hi, I’m Stephen Kelly from SK tax advice. And I’m an accountant and tax advisor for small businesses, mainly focusing on the creative sector.  I also provide support for all aspects of small and growing businesses.


Thanks very much, Stephen. Please tell us why you started your business?


Basically, I started my own business. I worked for a long time within large accountancy firms. And I felt that small businesses and individual businesses were being overlooked. As in if they weren’t of a certain growth or of a certain potential, we would basically inform those businesses that we weren’t interested in them. So I felt there would be missed out.

So as well as it being a potential gap in the market as such, it just felt, I’d prefer to be helping out smaller intimate, individual businesses. And that’s why I thought it would be a good route to take for me to do business. And it’s gone quite well so far.


How do you grow and sustain relationships with your clients or customers?


It’s a case being you’re dealing with, uh, being an accountant as a tax advisor, quite an important factor of people’s lives as well as the financial aspects of it as well. People have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their businesses. so it’s really about getting to know the person, the individual and how much they want to understand, how much they need to understand….So it’s a very personal level of relationship when handling people’s money.

40% of the role is based around the client experience, 60% of it is the technical knowledge and expertise, but certainly building up and maintaining the trust of a client is essential and forming a friendly or casual relationship is often the best way. Or forming a relationship of handhold, where someone needs their handheld also allows you to get to know a person quickly and that helps to form a good client relationship.


And what sort of problems do you solve for your clients or customers?


Well, over the last 12 months, and beyond, we’ve been solving more problems than ever before in terms of supporting them through difficult times. Fortunately, most have been able to prevail. So there’s that aspect, but there’s also a case of providing the services possible. So take that aspect. The accountancy and tax advice is taken away for you, so people can focus on running their business.

So I’d say that’s perhaps the key to doing the job, is understanding the needs of people. What do people need from accounting? What’s do they need from the service and then taking that away from them and dealing with those problems. some clients like to be involved in every little nitty-gritty aspect of it, but essentially most don’t want to. It’s freeing for the customer knowing they can have it either way.


And what has been your company’s biggest milestone so far?


The biggest milestone would have been, uh…..

It’s been a very gradual kind of growing process. I’ve built it up slowly whilst having consulting roles as well. Basically, perhaps going all out all on my own for the first time has been the biggest step. Also, I now have a PA and a bookkeeper that works for me as well. So I just think it’s a gradual process as opposed to a big tipping point.

I’m basically growing a broad business for a broad range of clients. So I’m not chasing that one deal or product launch or anything like that. But I think there is a big milestone on the horizon for me very soon. I’m launching a new website, I’m rebranding. It’s going to be called Flow Accounting and Tax Services (up and running as of February 2022), that’s going to be launched in the next couple of months. That’s when I think I am going to need to upscale. I’m going to take on more staff to deal with getting the work done, on a day to day basis.. So I think in terms of milestones, it’s yet to be arrived at.


How has your business grown in the last 12 months?


It’s actually grown fairly steadily. I think apart from between March and May 2020. What I would say back then clients were nervous. The whole market was nervous. Existing clients were concerned. But since we’ve overcome that hurdle, we have grown steadily. Lots of people are now starting up new businesses, perhaps as a result of having more time spent at home where they can think about themselves and what they really want. However, people have also unfortunately been made redundant and so there is an opportunity to start something new. So I would say I have grown steadily over the last 12 months and beyond, probably bigger than what I could have hoped for. I’ve definitely hit all the targets I was hoping to meet.

So it’s been quite reassuring to know that I can continue to make time for what I’m doing through a pandemic and I do have great hopes to achieve, I want to grow to a certain level. And so again, It’s about continuing on the path that I’m on now.


Could you tell me, what are the main tools or software that you use at work?


Well perhaps, the main one we use is called Zero, that’s perhaps the most common application that everybody uses. That’s a cloud-based accounting solution. That’s what clients mainly use for their bookkeeping. That’s definitely the main one I deal with. It’s very good, very easy and friendly for the clients to use with the right kit as well.

I do use all the technical software, in the background that perhaps clients don’t need to know about. But in terms of tax specialist software, I use Zero. It’s the way forward.


Please describe to me what your ideal workspace looks like?


It’s kind of where we are now (Mainyard Studios Leyton) It’s smart,  it’s the right environment professionally but laid back at the same time. I do like to have that brain space. It’s also quite modern as well. I like to be surrounded by all types of people from lots of different backgrounds. Again, I worked for a long time in big accounting firms with offices with two, three thousand accountants, so it’s better to have somewhere more intimate but also open. The people here are pretty laid back, but passionate and professional at the same time.


A slightly different kind of question next, If you could get rid of your biggest challenge, what would it be?


The biggest challenge, I suppose, in terms of what business is time, is being able to free up time to do other things. I want to get on with specific work and not about the lower-level stuff at the side of what I need to build my business, because I’ve gone from having a big support team around me to doing everything myself, equally doing it in a methodical way.

So it would be to build my team. Slowly and maybe take on an experienced member of staff just to free up my time.


How would you say Mainyard has helped you grow your business?


Well mainly, mainyard in particular throughout the pandemic has been an absolute godsend for me. I’ve got two young children at home. So being able to have the workspace separate from my home life is huge. I live locally. I live in the area. So having that separation of workspace, it’s quite good.

And also Mainyard gives me the capacity to switch on, switch off when I get here. It’s almost like this is my dedicated work time when I’m here. So having that degree of separation between the home-life and the work-life is very important when you’re running your own business.


I final questions to you is….What’s the best thing about working at Mainyard?


It’s laid back. It’s professional. There’s support from the owners that run Mainyard, mainly in terms of getting the vibes right around here. They’re always approachable and obviously want everyone to succeed and their success depends upon our success. And that kind of goes around full circle.


for any queries about tax advice please contact Stephen at: