As part of our partnership with the ICAEW we hosted a webinar on how ACA accountants can get the most from their career, which you can view here.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing entrepreneur David Gormer, who shared with me his journey of becoming a startup founder and also gave us a great insight into his business, Square Mile Accounting, in this article here.
Please introduce yourself
My name is David Gormer and I’m the founder of Square Mile Accounting, a 100% Xero practice specialising in the tech sector.
How did you enter the industry?
I started my career at Deloitte as an ACA trainee in the TMT audit division. I found that I wasn’t passionate about audit but I appreciated that it was a great foundation to move onto new and exciting roles.
Why the TMT division at Deloitte? I noticed you stayed until Manager before leaving.
TMT was a personal interest for me – It was 1999 and the peak of the .com boom. I got the job thinking that I’d be working with sexy internet businesses, however the reality was quite different. I stayed until I became a Manager because I was looking for a job that I could truly be passionate about, which as I’m sure you know is not an easy search.
How did you find your search for your first industry role?
I was lucky as back in 2004 the market was booming. Demand for qualified accountants from a Big 4 firm was high, so I didn’t have any difficulties finding an industry role.
After 10 years away from the profession and tech sector, you set up your own accountancy practice for tech startups – Where did the inspiration come from?
The decision to start my own practice came because I needed more flexibility. I wanted more freedom in my life to spend with my young family and I realised to do this I’d need to define my own work and agenda. I knew it would be hard, but that I could also make more money then I would have from a salary. Still, while I recognised that this was the right time in life to start my own business, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I went on a process of self discovery. I asked myself “What motivates me, what makes me happy?” I explored a few different routes – I even looked into starting my own brewery!
After careful consideration I realised that the changes in technology made going from industry back into practise a real possibility. 15 years ago it would have been very difficult to make this move, with Sage and older accounting packages, but now there is accounting software designed for business owners. It’s not a big leap for a Chartered Accountant to bridge that gap.
What are the biggest challenges to do this? How did you go about overcoming them?
Managing staff was a different experience as startups are more personality driven then larger corporate environments. You have to learn to draw a line between the emotive aspects of running your business. For most small business owners, there’s a reason they started and so there’s a strong focus on getting to where they want to be. If you feel things are getting in your way it can become an emotive issue.
What advice would you give anyone looking to do the same?
It depends on which stage of life you’re at. I think there’s a lot to be gained from working at larger corporations in your early career, but it all depends on personal motivations and experimentations. My advice would be to trial run your idea alongside your day job to make sure it works – then you can aim for larger things.
David also provided us great insight into his business Square Mile Accounting; who they are, how he built a successful startup, and what the future holds for the business. Read “David Gormer explains Square Mile Accounting” here.
David, has 14 years leadership experience in accounting and business development in the City of London. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte, David specialised in the London technology sectors. He is a trusted advisor and ally to all of our clients.