A day in the life of… Patrick van Aalst

In the third of our new monthly “day in the life” series, we spend the day with one of our members to find out what a typical day for them entails.

Name and job role: Patrick van Aalst FMAAT, Director and shareholder of The Laundry Company.

I get up at…

I’m a bit of a night owl and am routinely up until the small hours so I’m not an early riser. In the morning I’ll watch one half of a rugby match in bed and then start work around 10 am from my home office.

The first thing I do when I get to the office is…

Check the emails for both businesses – my accounting consultancy and The Laundry Company. I also sub-contract for another accountant so have a dedicated email for that. I’ll then process yesterday’s bank transactions download from Quickbooks.

My responsibilities are…

I’m Director and shareholder of The Laundry Company and do the admin, payroll, accounts, bill paying and managing credit control, although I use the team to do the direct communication for outstanding payments most of the time as they have the relationship with the customers.

For my accounting consultancy, I’m on my own so, of course, my responsibilities are everything, including doing the client work, the admin and the marketing. For marketing, I target two types of client. The main one is small limited companies. Because I have more than 20 years experience in management accounts and industry I want a little bit more than the end of year requirements.

I like to be hands-on and feel like I’m part of their business. I focus entirely on cloud accounting so they can have quick access to their reports. The second type of client is larger companies who might need short term hand-holding, for example, if their accounts payable is a bit of a mess, getting suppliers reconciled and making sure they don’t have things outstanding.

I’ve been working here for…

My partner was ironing from home and her business grew to a point where she started employing people and moved to an industrial unit. In December 2011 we were introduced to a laundry business for sale which we felt would complement the ironing and in March 2012 we acquired the business. We’ve been running the company ever since.

I started advertising my services as an accountant, both as a practicing accountant and a freelance management accountant in 2018 after I was made redundant from my Finance Manager role with a charity. I didn’t feel that I could commit to another employed role as I was still recovering from a motorcycle accident from two years before wherein I broke both legs. Unfortunately, the breaks didn’t bind very well and this resulted in a series of seven further operations over the last three years. I have an x-ray scheduled soon and I will hopefully then be discharged from hospital care (fingers crossed!). 

I’m qualified in…

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting (Level 4).

A typical day in the office is…

I start work mid-morning and work through lunchtime. In the afternoon I’ll take our new Springer Spaniel, Monty, for a really long walk to wear him out which is also good physio for me. I’ll have dinner, a bit of downtime then start work again for an evening session.

During the day, I’m active on Facebook for marketing and I help other bookkeepers with their queries, I’m trying to position myself as the person to call if they need something a bit more technical than they can do themselves, plus I’m learning from others input too.

My most memorable work moment is…

When I was offered the Finance Manager role at the second company I worked for. I was Accounts Assistant at the time and had no idea it was going to happen. I had finished my AAT qualifications about six months before and just joined as a full member. It was such a boost at the time. Of course, later, it involved a whole lot of stress with all the extra responsibilities!

The best part of my job is…

Being involved in a whole range of business issues and having autonomy.

The worst part of my job is…

Fighting procrastination.

When I’m not at work…

I’m a gamer and a keen motorcyclist. Great weekends involve the motorbike, real ale, live music and friends.

If I wasn’t in this job I’d be a…

Absolutely no idea because I’m strangely obsessed with numbers, principles, and processes. If I had to choose, probably something to do with motorbikes, like a courier.

For more inspirational career content:

Sophie Cross is a freelance writer and marketer specialising in business and travel. She is the editor for London Revealed magazine and her clients include lastminute.com Group and Merlin Entertainments.

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