Jackie Hooper: From considering shutting shop, to cash flow contentment

Quick read: This is the story of how Jackie Hooper, owner of JDH Bookkeeping, transformed a stress-plagued practice with less than perfect clients, into a cash-flow content, owner-happy business that goes from strength to strength.


JDH Bookkeeping – In a nutshell

Meet Jackie Hooper, owner of a small accountancy practice in Wales. She qualified in 2003, and set up in business not long after. Her team is 6-strong, and together they provide superstar services that cover all accounting necessities.

Yet 15 years into her business, Jackie was facing overwhelming entrepreneurial burnout.


“Living with stress can only be done for so long”.


The problem? There were many.

Jackie’s clients didn’t see the importance of paperwork, paying on time or co-operating in the most basic sense. While the JDH Bookkeeping team were organised to a fault, the business was suffering from what you could call a case of client sabotage. Consequently, some parts of the year were too quiet, others utterly manic. Jackie wanted clients who were happy to pay, and happy to co-operate.


The intervention

JDH Bookkeeping had gone as far as they could in attempting to turn things around. An email from AVN would eventually lead them to our door, with Jackie and her practice manager, Heather Booton, attending our masterclass event in November 2017. And their thoughts on that event?


“Blown away – three days of proper positive feedback as to what could be done”.



As for how they justified taking three days off to attend the event…


“We knew we had to. We had both been at the point of ‘enough is enough’ and wanted to close everything. Thankfully, not at the same time”.


Following our masterclass, and with the steps laid out, Jackie and her team set about implementing change. Then, tax return season hit – something that stands in the way of so many accounting firms in pursuing transformation. How did Jackie balance this, with implementing our ‘Roadmaps’?


“We wanted to make changes. We had to make changes. One of the reasons was also the fact that my practice manager was pregnant, which served as a deadline in itself”.


The Impact

Getting paid (always a bonus!)

Cash flow has improved – which is almost always a problem in accounting firms. JDH clients have moved from standing orders to more flexible direct debits. This handles the previous problem of payment for extra work – something that often went unpaid previously.


More money in the bank (than ever before).

Jackie has already reviewed and increased her tax return and bookkeeping fees, and she’s also soon set to review the remainder of their payments on a case-by-case basis.


Fabulous client feedback

Jackie has received glowing feedback from her clients on many of her changes – but amongst them, their calendar was the clear winner.

With AVN providing guidance on USPs, Jackie honed in on her firm’s personality. As part of this, they sent their clients joke-packed calendars, that also advertised their services. But there were two ingenious features of this calendar in particular:

  1. Dates were added to remind their clients about deadlines (helloooo early paperwork!)
  2. A list featured within the calendar to instruct clients on what they needed to hand in – bank statements, receipts etc. – for the right information, the first time.


Demoralisation has been replaced by positivity

Stress weighs everyone down. For Jackie, she believes that she and her team are less stressed to a point that this is coming through to the clients. Her team are very proud and enjoying an easier professional life.


All of which has been achieved by only completing the first of seven AVN Roadmaps…

AVN workshops guide firms through seven ‘Roadmaps’:1. Clarity 2. Positioning 3. Value 4. Gearing 5. Automation 6. Profile 7. Purposeful.

Jackie is only on Roadmap 1: Clarity. We can’t wait to catch up with her once she’s completed roadmap 7.


“We’ve got a long way to go, and it can be painful, difficult, overwhelming – but persevere, implement, and see the impact”.


So, where next?

While Jackie is in the midst of her practice manager’s maternity leave, which brings its own short-term pressures and stresses, she’s certain that once Heather returns, so too will the unprecedented calm that had developed before she left.


Next on her list of goals, is to simply slow down. Jackie did work for 4 days. She’d like to work less. In the next year, she’s set her sights on 3 days a week.


And the million-dollar question – would you recommend AVN to another accountant?


“I already have. I know of one or two who are even more stressed that I was. I’ve told them they have to do it. Like you tell us, either you continue suffering the pain, and continue doing what you’re doing, or you take the decision to take control and change things.

The fact that AVN have been accountants, they understand, they get it, there’s nobody else better placed to help”.


Want to make better choices about the role you play, the hours you work, the income you generate or the difference you make? Or perhaps, like Jackie, having the best clients would change everything. Whatever the future you hope for, it’s probably time we talked. Contact the AVN team today:01246 571191 |info@avn.co.uk.