Cranfield accountants celebrate 20 years in business

Jonathan Vowles
Jonathan Vowles

Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants has celebrated 20 years in business by reinventing itself as a leader in the use of digital technology.

The firm serves not only local but also international clients from its base in Cranfield.

Chartered accountant Jonathan set up in business in 1998, after working for a national, then a multi-national firm of accountants and then a Europe-wide division of VF Corporation,the world’s largest apparel company.

Back in 1998, much of the work was based around manual data input and the use of spreadsheets.

In 2015, Jonathan started the process of turning the business into an advanced user of technology.

But the climb from 20th century accounting practices to 21st-century technology hasn’t been easy.

Jonathan said: “Change is always resisted and my firm has been no different. Over the three years of this journey, we have lost a proportion of the team, as they voted to resist the changes.

“We also chose the wrong software to begin with and changing to use a better alternative after six months was a stumbling block.

“Communication and training are two more areas of challenge. “Training the team on the job was a poor choice that came to an awkward and costly head and meant investing in better training.”

Jonathan thought that one of his strengths as a leader was talking to his team. However, communicating change, and in particular communicating the vision for the future, was a tough proposition.

He said: “I felt that the message was so clear and obvious, but only one individual really accepted my vision early on and it took ages to bring the whole team with me.

“But now, in 2018, we are at the leading edge of providing accountancy services using cutting-edge, modern software tools.”

But technology isn’t everything, Jonathan added.

“Software tools are just that – tools. They don’t change the need for good service and value for money. They must still be the essence of our business.

“But using better tools means we can better deliver that service and offer value for money to our clients.”