Awards profile: “I became a practice manager while still studying”

Brandon Yeadon MAAT did all sorts of jobs before he became an accountant.

One was running a bike shop – he invested in the business, which was in trouble, and turned it around with the help of an accountant, Kate Watson FMAAT. She could see he had an instinct for finance, and asked if he’d considered accountancy.

So Yeadon replied to an AAT advert in the Metro and spoke to a representative, who turned out to be very persuasive. His mind made up, Yeadon started the AAT Diploma in Accounting.

When is the right time to start your own practice?

He kept in touch with Watson. One day, out of the blue, she asked whether he wanted to take over her practice – she was moving to Granada and could no longer manage it. Yeadon, who is naturally risk-averse, wasn’t sold on the idea. Could he really take on a business while still so green?

“I said: ‘Look, I am still a student. I haven’t got the tools or knowledge. I need practice.’ We made an agreement that, if I was going to do it, I would go and work with her and learn how to run the practice,” he recalls.

He also started working at another firm to gain extra experience. When he got his licence to practise, he bought the goodwill (the client base) from Watson. He also inherited a member of staff, and Watson helped him with the practice’s work for a few months.

Using your life experience

It would have been easy to continue running the practice as it had been run before, but Yeadon’s instinct was to change things up: “Kate is a great accountant, but that’s all she’s ever done. So, having actually been a business owner who knows how difficult it is with cash flow and so on – that has allowed me to move things on.”

Yeadon’s focus is currently on technology updates, management accounting and advisory services, as well as “generally being a counsellor to people”.

“I’m trying to make it a more organic, touchy-feely kind of practice, where people feel like they’re invested in themselves.

You’ve got to make them feel like they’re the most important clients. We’ve taken on a lot of new clients and they’re paying better fees,” he says.

Celebrating your achievements

Qualifying and taking over a practice has been a lot of hard work, but Yeadon is immensely proud of his achievements, for
which he won ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at the AAT Professional Member Awards 2018.

“I’m getting back to normal after all the excitement of the Conference and Awards. It was a lot to take in. It all felt very surreal.”

“My friends think I’ve headed off with Elon Musk to Mars, but I love what I’m doing. I like the challenge of it.”

This article first appeared in our July/August 2018 issue of AT magazine.

Mark Rowland is the Editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.

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