Meet the humans behind the Complete HQ brand!
We caught up with our founder Andy to pick his brains and find out what makes him tick.
What do you do at Complete HQ?
I set up the company, so I'd be classed as a founder. We've just passed two years old actually, back in June 2019!
On a day to day, I work with some of our bigger clients on their more high-level projects like business strategy, planning, and forecasting for their businesses, as well as getting involved in any tax planning that they might need us to do.
I also spend a lot of time working with the guys in the office and with Leila who's out of the office, helping them on general day-to-day accounting processes and helping to educate them so that they can take care of our clients without me needing to be involved– which for me is kind of the dream really! I'll also get involved with reviewing all of the work that they do before it goes out to clients and checking everything's good to go.
I also spend a lot of my time on calls with clients, sessions with the team on the stuff that they're working on, and then a lot of business development. So, dealing with leads, working on marketing stuff, and all the other stuff that's involved in running a business, like HR, our own finances, all of those kinds of things. That's all wrapped up in what I do every single day.
What led you to start your own accountancy business?
It was kind of completely by accident! I got a bit bored with the accounting scene in early 2019 and I got to a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to work in the accountancy space anymore, so I decided to leave the business that I was in at that time. I've always loved working with businesses, but at the time, I just got fed up with how things were going, I maybe got a bit stale with the processes and the way that I was working with businesses and wanted to try and do something different.
I also found out as part of working with businesses, because of my skill set, they wanted me to do some more of the financial aspects, which is cool. And I took the approach that I wanted to do more business consultancy than accounting, so I started Complete HQ.
We had around 20 clients who came from previous businesses that I was at and we then grew nicely over the first 12 months. Then we started to really ramp up our marketing, put out a lot more content online, and it just kept growing from there. The pandemic was also a big thing for us because businesses felt they weren't getting the care that they wanted from their previous accountants. That led to us to grow again, quite substantially over the past 12 months to where we are now.
So it was really just identifying an area that businesses felt was a little bit stale and could be improved upon and developing better ways of doing things with those businesses that they felt was valuable and that we could charge for. I essentially built a business that used my skillset, so I could kind of just do what I was good at!
How do you prefer to start your day?
Kids, coffee, fueling for the day, and if I'm really lucky, I get a bit of exercise in.
I have three children, a four-year-old, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. So the start of my day can be anything from 5 am to– if I'm really, really lucky– maybe 6.30 am. That's usually when I get up and I always start my day with caffeine-fueled hydration. I always have a ham and scrambled egg bagel every morning, that's what I have without fail. Sometimes I go nuts and have ham with poached eggs and a bagel. I try to ignore my phone first thing in the morning and not open my emails until I'm in work mode.
So the first couple of hours of my day are getting the kids ready, getting myself ready, and getting my mind in the right place for the day, then usually dropping a child or multiple children to various locations.
What's something that business owners have to deal with that you want to fix?
I think that business owners generally need more from their accountant than their accountant is telling them that they need or that their accountant is offering them help with.
Something business owners have to deal with, in my opinion, is also a lack of servicing and a lack of understanding of small businesses from a lot of advisors. Small businesses in their own right, are a niche. Small businesses are very different from medium-sized organisations and they require someone who can work with them on all areas of their businesses and not just the finances.
We do something with a few startups every couple of months if we feel that they could benefit from additional help, but maybe don't have the financial means to pay for it yet, we will give them some of my time. We'll invest a little bit in them and give them the additional services that we feel they need to make their businesses a success. And we'll do that at a very reduced fee level so that hopefully they can grow a very good, sustainable business and they feel the benefit of those services that we're providing.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
I listen to music pretty much constantly, so I would have my phone with me because that's got access to anything I want to listen to. I would also take my turbo trainer with me and my bike, which would keep me fit and active so I'm not bored, and maybe a cookbook. If there are natural resources on this desert island, I could then rustle something up, which would be amazing!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It's not necessarily a piece of advice, but it's a quote that I try and live by: 'culture is not what you say, it's what you do.'
It's something I think is critical to our businesses, the culture of our business, and the people that we work with on a day-to-day basis, so I'm going to angle it in there as advice!
What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten?
Before I became an accountant, I worked for my uncle in his chip shop and we used to deep fry a lot of things just to see if we could get that secret recipe going on. So I've had a variety of strange, deep fried concoctions!
What do you love to do when you're not working?
I love spending time with my kids and riding my bike, quite often those things as a combination. I'll quite often go out on my own on my road bike as well as exercising, or other sport like training, riding my bike, or playing golf.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
One song I always listen to and never get tired of is Come Back Kid by Kasabian. It's a great song, I find it really motivational.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about accountants?
That they know everything! You've got accountants that specialise in different areas of business and finances, so accountants don't necessarily know everything about everything, and that we all go to work in a suit and a tie and go into an office and sit there boringly!
The biggest misconception is definitely that accountants aren't creative. I think accountants can be very creative in the way they work with businesses and they can be creative in a personal nature as well. But quite often, accountants are earmarked into that boring, steady pair of hands category. That's probably the biggest misconception!