January 2, 2018
What were your aims when you started The Aurea Partnership? Have these changed?
The business started in 2007. My goals at the start have not really altered, though the landscape has. In 2007, it was the pursuit of most business owners to ‘keep more’ of what they make, ably supported by their professional advisers. In 2018, the environment for this pursuit of happiness, I believe, is now one of fear – fear of reprisal from the tax authorities, if we dare to make use of our legal entitlements. SME business owners are the backbone of our economy, the principal employers in the private sector and, sadly, the easiest targets when the government needs to raise more money to deal with a mountain of debt unlikely to be cleared in my lifetime. My aim for 2018 is to continue with my mission to reassure business owners that there is much they can do to make things better, to be properly rewarded for the effort and sacrifice, and to achieve this by using the rules, rather than looking for loopholes which do not work.
How does The Aurea Partnership help its clients and what makes it different from its competitors?
The Aurea Partnership was described to me recently as a hybrid: neither an accountancy practice nor a financial advisory firm, but something in between. Many of your readers will be starting the new year with a tax bill due to changes introduced to dividends in April
2016. Their frustration is mirrored by my own. I took steps to deal with this issue, resulting in me keeping more of what I make. Is my ambition to avoid paying tax? Absolutely not. But in making full use of what is available, I do keep more, which means I am rewarded for my effort.
I meet many business owners and am always concerned about the hours they keep – 24/7 is a common answer to the question of how much time do you put in. As a lifestyle planner, too, this is deeply alarming. Keeping more is a path to building a lifestyle of choice rather than of circumstance.
I help business owners create a lifestyle that allows time for themselves: time and money to take holidays, long weekends, pursue hobbies, spend precious time with family, our children in particular. My eldest daughter will be 29 this summer and like most dads I still see her as a five-year-old and wonder just where the time has gone!
You’ve run several businesses; how does this experience help when you’re advising clients?
In 1999, when I first took the leap into business ownership, it was more in hope than as a result of sound planning. The 19 years since have been a rollercoaster ride. It is rare that I have not experienced something a client has, or is about to. Being able to share this personal experience is, I believe, invaluable.
What is the question you’re most asked about retaining profitability? And what’s your answer?
This question is to do with personal profitability – in other words turning the business owner into a profit centre. The question I get asked is ‘how do I keep more’? To help answer this question, I ask every client: ‘Why did you get up this and every morning and what are your objectives for this year?’. Invariably, the answers I get is ‘to make money’ and ‘to build a better life’. I then help as many business owners as I can answer the above questions.