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Numbers add up to future growth for Preston accountant

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A Preston accountant who set up her own business earlier this year has been put on the path to growth, with support from Lancashire’s business growth hub.

Alys Stuart has an impressive CV – including working as an engineer, a school teacher and a driving instructor - but none of those career paths have ever felt quite right. So after becoming frustrated with her previous jobs Alys decided to re-train as an accountant and now she’s set up Alys Stuart Accountancy. 

She took the plunge in May this year after completing her AAT studies and with a growing client base, she’s already confident she has made the right move. 

Alys has been supported by Boost Business Lancashire’s Growth Support Programme, which helps entrepreneurs launch their new enterprises. 

Boost is the name for the Lancashire Business Growth Hub. It is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

The fully funded programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, provides help to develop a personal action plan, Lean Launchpad sessions outlining key principles for developing a new business and one-to-one coaching support for business owners. 

The mum-of-three said: “I knew the thing I enjoyed the most was numbers and that’s why I started my studies but eventually working in the day and doing bookkeeping in the evenings meant I had a decision to make, either stop the bookkeeping or throw everything in to it and that’s what I’ve done. 

“I met a Boost associate at a networking event and the support went from there – I couldn’t believe I met somebody like that, the advice and guidance was exactly what I needed. 

“I have been helping other businesses with their accounts and advising them, which I know I have the skills and qualifications to do, but I had no idea about the business side of things for my own business – I didn’t know about marketing or even how to write a business plan, it has opened up so many doors. 

“When I set up in May I had 13 clients, now six weeks on I’ve got 20. I’ve got a way to go but I’ve met people at networking events and other people are now referring potential clients, so it’s all heading in the right direction. 

“When I went to the Lean Launchpad sessions there were so many possibilities I hadn’t even considered, it opened my eyes up to what I could do. It has been a whirlwind moving from doing some bookkeeping on the side to running a business but I’m really excited for what the future holds. 

“It never occurred to me I could grow the business and start employing people, but now that is my plan going forward.” 

Alys aims to deliver a very personal and approachable service to her clients, which she has found to be successful so far and she is also doing some AAT teaching locally. 

Rona McFall, head of entrepreneurial solutions at Winning Pitch, said: “Alys has really put her mind into making this business work for her, she has thrown herself into all the opportunities available and we’re really pleased we have been able to support her in this way – we want to help people turn their businesses in success stories and I’m confident that’s exactly what Alys Stuart Accountancy will become.” 

Boost Business Lancashire has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding


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