Barrie Whitwood is one of our members at the Manchester Ainscow Group, which is held at 7.30 a.m. on alternate Wednesday’s. CBA Associates hold the Accountancy seat, working with clients primarily in Greater Manchester and East Lancashire. CBA pride themselves on making their services available to all, from a sole trader requiring an hour a week bookkeeping, to multi-million pound businesses. CBA are expanding this year, taking on two new staff members, so we wanted to sit down and interview Barrie and find out why he chose BforB.
- What made you choose BforB?
“Networking is important and so is getting the right group. BforB seemed a more relaxed atmosphere, with no pressure selling, but still offering that professional touch. A group I was a member of was disbanding and Paul Wainwright at GLP Solicitors invited me to join his group. My business partner did network many years ago with a competitor to BforB, and what she described was very off-putting – to say the least!”
- What is the most positive thing BforB has given you?
“Business-wise I have new clients, – genuine referrals are passed which become real business. Personally I’ve met some very likeable people, and it’s an enjoyable meeting to go to, where you don’t mind turning up even though it’s a 7.30 start”.
- Have you built any particular alliances with your group members?
“Yes with Richard at First Contact Consultancy – He looks at your business and helps you to expand, a growth specialist to all intent and purposes. He’s a great introducer to funding, solicitors etc., to help you achieve your expansion goals. Richard also deals with start-up businesses, via his university contacts, and this has been a source of good introductions for me to new business”.
- What are your thoughts on Guests?
“I admit I do struggle to bring guests. I understand the importance and don’t want the group to stagnate. The people I come into contact with tend to use the excuse they’re too busy! I also face the problem that a large number of my clients are trades who just don’t understand or seem interested in the concept. I will keep trying to convince them as I know they will benefit. Seeing the same people every week can become boring and become just a chat and breakfast”.
- Has BforB been profitable for you?
“Yes, we’ve had at least 4 new clients which is good as businesses don’t tend to change accountants unless they’re unhappy. One was a new start up and we helped them set up their new business. I understand that quality business doesn’t come every week. We’re in it for the long term”.
- Is there anything you would change about the meeting?
“I visited the Knutsford BforB which was slightly more formal. Our Ainscow group is quite relaxed, so I do think getting timings and structure in place would benefit. Because we don’t have a huge number of guests, which is being addressed, we do sit back a little on the format so this could benefit from straightening out”.
Quick fire round …
Career High? “Working with a band called the Ting Tings, I was their bookkeeper, liaising with management team and Sony”.
Favourite Film? “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or more recently The Wolf of Wall Street”
Children? “Not yet”
Favourite meal? “Sunday Roast”
Finally we asked Barrie for a quote :-
“Work hard, play hard” ~ Barrie Whitwood ~ CBA Associates NW (Ltd)
Mel Fisher, Director BforB UK