Business GrowthNicky Goringe Larkin and the team at Goringe Accountants are known for their boundless energy when it comes to helping their clients’ businesses grow—but what about their own growth?

Government-backed business growth scheme, GrowthAccelerator, is ‘a unique service led by some of the country’s most successful growth specialists’. Its website promises to ‘get to the heart of the barriers that are holding your business back and help you identify the critical steps you need to take to achieve your next phase of growth—rapidly and sustainably.’

Goringe Accountants Founder-Director, Nicky Goringe Larkin, comments:

The quality and care we deliver to our clients is an immense source of pride. Back in the summer of 2013 I’d set myself three objectives: to maintain that quality and care, whilst growing sustainably and optimising profit.

Not long after that I received an email from GrowthAccelerator Coach, Heather Townsend, entitled, ‘How To Become A Partner, But Still Have A Life.’ That headline immediately grabbed my attention because I set up my business so that I could balance a career with starting a family. It prompted me to click through and find out how GrowthAccelerator could work for Goringe Accountants.

After meeting Heather, Nicky signed up for a business MOT and quickly plunged into the full year’s programme, which is designed to help businesses achieve their full potential.

Heather specialises solely in accountancy and solicitors’ practices, so is able to offer valuable insight and innovation when it comes to advising Nicky and her team. She and fellow GrowthAccelerator Coach, Jon Baker, have experience in a broad range of practices, from the very small to the Big Four.

Nicky adds:

They quickly helped me to understand where our strengths lie and where we have opportunity for improvement. My background is in corporate, which is brilliant in terms of my understanding what my clients are going through, but I don’t have experience of working within another practice, so I rely on Heather and Jon to guide me.

Instilling the company culture throughout the team is a current focus.

Nicky adds:

As we’ve grown I’ve had to step back a bit, but it’s crucial to our growth that the ‘Goringe-Accountants-way-of-doing-things’ is maintained, because it’s one of the things our clients love about us.

What does a GrowthAccelerator programme entail? For Goringe Accountants it involves two different streams:

  1. Strategy & Planning for Nicky and
  2. Leadership & Management for her and the wider team.

They have so far participated in two half-day intensive sessions, covering change management and sales. The latter of which is crucial to a medium-sized practice as account managers get involved in all stages of a new relationship from the initial enquiry right through to the final pitch. Since most of the senior team is from larger practices, this level of involvement is new and exciting. The intensives are supplemented with regular phone calls, which allow Nicky to use Heather as a sounding board and Heather to provide the occasional voice of reason.

Heather picks up the story:

We personality-type nearly everyone on our programmes, in order to build a personalised growth programme for each client. We found that Nicky is very unusual as an accountant. Unsurprisingly, her team of account handlers were similar to each other, but Nicky scored very highly for Entrepreneur-Evangelist.

The fast growth of the practice is in no small part due to her energy and commitment, but sustainable growth is at the heart of what we do, so part of my challenge was holding her back! I asked her to freeze recruitment until the bottom line indicated profits were sufficient to sustain further growth.

These are exciting times for Goringe Accountants: it’s a growing economy, and they’re based in an affluent area with a wide range of business sectors, so Nicky frequently asks her team what sort of clients they’d like to work with.

Nicky adds:

I want each account manager to have a wide portfolio of clients who they enjoy working for. Since we’re able to choose, I endeavour to make this question central to our strategy—it’s much better when it’s fun!

6 months into the programme, what are the results so far?

Nicky adds:

Comparing Q1 2013 to 2014, billings are up 46% and profit is up 200%. This is mostly due to our being more efficient and having the right people in place. We’ve now introduced an appraisal system, too—essentially, we’re setting in place all the building blocks to grow much bigger.

Where next? Nicky sums up:

We’re taking on a new Tax Manager in Q3 and we’re promoting from within our team in Q4. We’ll see how the rest of the year pans out, but we hope to extend the GrowthAccelerator programme to all our staff in the future. Looking back, the business has changed and grown so much; I wonder what I might have done differently had I had this sort of knowledge-injection and consultancy from the beginning.