I’m on a train and I’m fussing. I hate being late.
London transport has let me down again and I’m due to meet Georgi Rollings, the founder of Starfish Accounting at Maidenhead station at 9:09am. I’m going to spend the day profiling the firm and their adoption of a new Virtual Credit Control™ service.
“Don’t worry, it gave me a chance to pop home and unload then reload the dishwasher,” Georgi says beeming, as I enter the car. Instantly my worries fade away. Georgi, unlike some founders you see, approaches life and business with an easy and authentic enthusiasm that’s infectious. We’d met a few times before and I was looking forward to seeing how this translated back to the heart of her firm and team.
I enter the office, based on some farmland just between Maidenhead and Twyford to a bright open space and the sounds of people hard at work. The team itself consists of Georgi and her co-CEO Emma Lawrence - both chartered accountants - a bookkeeper Jennifer Grocott, an accounts assistant Jo Wormald as well as Andrea Thomas the office manager and Claire Hobson the administrative assistant. Upon the arrival of Georgi and I, an easy conversation starts between them all,as they almost seamlessly switch between business critical updates and plans for this year’s Christmas party, with us all acknowledging that June may seem early but that time can run away easily. As they talk (about nothing confidential of course, with me present) I begin to understand the first characteristic that made Starfish a perfect candidate for VCC (Virtual Credit Control™); they communicate freely.
After a few minutes I settle down with Georgi to dig a little deeper. Since trialling the service with their first client, Starfish had reduced the overdue debt by £6,500, almost a quarter of this particular company's entire receivables ledger on implementation. I want to know how and more importantly why the firm decided to roll out the service to this client particularly. I’m impressed by how quickly she manages to switch from us having fun to being so articulate about her clients and their needs:
“I’m happier when we’re delivering a more comprehensive service. It makes the compliance easier, they get more visibility and in the end, we can be more useful when advising. I’ve definitely noticed a trend towards our clients wanting to give up more.”
When Georgi speaks of her clients, there is a sense of pride in her tone that is quite simply admirable. She cares deeply about her clients, and works hard to nurture them to success. If you take a look at the Starfish Accounting website her page states, “My mission is to help women in business. To help them to achieve their goals, to grow their businesses, and to do so with approachable, friendly, non-stuffy advice and support". Although Starfish do not exclusively serve women in business, this ethos highlights just how important going the extra mile is for them.
So, it seems that ultimately at Starfish they want to help their clients grow by taking ownership of as much of the process as their charges will allow. It’s easy for me to see this, even just sitting here and asking the odd question. The result however, is that their clients trust them, so when asked if they’d like to trial a new service to help them get paid they say yes. They are happy to take advice from the expert that only wants the best for them.
Six and a half thousand pounds later, not only do Starfish have a happy client, but a proof point to use for any that were previously on the fence, and all it took was some honest intent and well, Chaser.
It truly seems that starfish were meant to fly.
To learn about how your firm can become a Virtual Credit Control™ pioneer with Chaser, check out our Partner scheme to learn about the benefits of our software, and join our weekly webinar for an in-depth demonstration.