Member Stories: Bambury & Co

September 17th 2019

Bambury & Co is a different type of accountancy practice, who’s founder, Patrick Cracroft-Brennan has gathered a wealth of knowledge from many years working at senior level in a large variety of organisations. They have invested heavily in cloud-based technologies in order to make things easier, quicker and much more responsive for their clients. They are able to help with business plans, cash flow management and monthly management accounts and, while they specialise in Xero, they are experts in all online accountancy packages.


1. How did you start your company?

I qualified as a chartered accountant in 1974 with a large provincial practice based in Hull which is now part of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. I’ve held a practicing certificate since I qualified but have mixed my career with spells in practice and spells in central government, local government, commercial companies and the not-for-profit sector. I bought the practice of Frank Bambury & Co in 1990, renaming it Bambury & Co. As this was based in Great Bookham in Surrey there was then no name clash with Banbury, the place. But now…. My last full time role was as Secretary & Executive Director of The Magistrates’ Association, based in London and looking after some 25,000 magistrates (Justices of the Peace). Just after I retired from there a friend in Bicester was off to the Falklands. I agreed to house sit for him. After a month of two of retirement I got a tad bored and so I screwed my brass plate to his garden gate. The rest is history.

2. What are you working on at the moment?

Well apart from the everyday work of accounts, tax returns, payroll and wills & probate, I have two exciting new projects. Firstly, I have had an app written for my practice [see picture]. This is to make life easier for my clients as it brings into one place access to their cloud accounting systems, a variety of useful calculators (e.g. Should I Incorporate? Salary v Dividend? etc.), GPS based journey tracking for expense claims, the ability to scan and copy receipts, and being able to receive important push notifications on the app straight from me.

The other project is to do with GDPR. I am very conscious that email is a very insecure method of communication, especially for pdfs containing sensitive information such as you find on payslips. I use Moneysoft’s PayrollManager software, which in my experience is the best payroll software around. Unfortunately it is not cloud based. So I have linked up with PayDashboard, which is cloud based. In a nutshell, payroll information will be sent to PayDashboard each month and client’s staff can access and download their payslips from there. PayDashboard also have a range of staff benefits, e.g. discounts with selected leading retailers, which all members of staff can access.

3. What do you like about Bicester Innovation Centre?

For four years I was at the other end of Telford Road in Enterprise House. At best there were only 8 businesses in there including myself, and so the networking opportunities were very limited. The Bicester Innovation Centre is, of course, completely different. Many more businesses to interact with, both here and at the other Innovation Centres, and the ever smiling reception staff. My clients are always commenting how pleasant the receptionists are to deal with, so a big star to Gina and her staff.

4. What projects/ambitions do you have for the future of your company?

Apart from continuing to develop the Bambury & Co App, the plan is to expand the number of clients. I’d love to be in a position where I had to take on staff and move to a bigger office. I’m totally committed to the Xero cloud accounting system and want to spend more time promoting the advantages of using Xero, “Beautiful accounting software” as they say. In the future basic compliance work (bookkeeping, accounts and tax returns) will become less and less important to the switched-on accountancy practice, and more time will be spent on app advisory services, which arguably is more important to a client as it could save them both time and money. I first created a simple computer program using punched cards in 1969 – I now want to be at the front of the app revolution!


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