Bourne Valley Nursery School Ltd
A CASE STUDY
I am a qualified teacher who had 15 years teaching experience before setting up my own day nursery in 2001. We started in an old Victorian school building with 15 staff and capacity for 36 children. I had a wealth of experience in education but no experience managing people or running a business. Now we employ over 70 staff and cater for about 250 children daily.
At the start I wanted to have autonomy and the freedom to develop education in the Early Years with my own pedagogy and ethos. I had never imagined how big we would grow, and how I would need to adapt my skills. It felt exciting and scary at the same time, the education side of venture was so fulfilling but the responsibility of employing people and keeping abreast of the business in a very competitive field was daunting.
I felt very aware of my lack of knowledge about managing people and running a business. I felt a huge sense of purpose and was passionate about my field of expertise but I knew I needed support with the finances and payroll. I had worked with regular accountants from 2001 – 2012 which had enabled me to file my accounts effectively but I was looking for that extra support, someone who had an interest in the day nursery sector who would be able to advise me with financial decisions and keep me abreast of the economic climate to enable the business to expand naturally and safely.
Why I chose Shirley Hollis
I was spending too much time on areas where I lacked skill which was not time effective, it spoilt my enjoyment day to day and was cramping my creativity and holding me back. I didn’t trust that anyone could really help in the way I needed, I hadn’t met Shirley yet!
I wanted someone with the skills in finance that I lacked, who would engage with the business as an ‘organic’ entity, that I could trust to support the business and enable it to blossom. I was fed up with my initial accountant who kept advising me with out really listening to what I wanted, pushing me to be hard nosed and profit driven. Child care and education was too much of a heart felt passion for me to take that route, I did not want to become corporate, I wanted to maintain a family business feel whilst finding the balance of heart and head decisions.
Shirley was a customer first and sent her two sons to one of our settings, she showed an interest in the nursery and was friendly. I was hesitant to use the services of a customer at first and held back. I knew she had set up her own business and was wanting to create an accountancy firm with a difference but I was suspicious and cautious to change from what I knew. It sounded too good to be true but I was tempted! it took nearly a year for me to arrange a meeting and discuss opportunities – needless to say since starting with Shirley I have never looked back!
I was expecting hollow promises and an accountancy service like the other two I had experienced: basic figures and filing. But Shirley listened to my view point and really got under the skin of the business, what she didn’t know or understand she researched and she took time to not only know the business inside out but also myself, quirks and all. She was always respectful, caring and above all sincere. Day Nurseries are complex businesses, day today operations make it hard to fit time in to study and reflect on finances, Shirley helped me to focus and apportion my time effectively so I could work both in and on the business without losing job satisfaction.
Shirley Hollis and Co supported us practically with the service of a professional book keeper, accounting information at our fingertips via Xero online, quarterly accounts and budgeting reviews with advice and monthly ‘dash boards’ all of which has given us peace of mind that we are fully abreast of our finances at any given moment, enabling us to make well informed decisions and monitor their effects promptly and accurately.
They’ve also supported us emotionally by exploring our aspirations and helping us set business and personal goals which has led to greater fulfilment and peace of mind and dare I say more sleep at night?!