Julie Wilkinson: Julie’s story live on NTV – Part 2

Follow the accounting podcast channels

Julie Wilkinson 

Hi, I’m July Wilkinson, and I’m a chartered management accountant. And I’m excited to be launching the build and exit podcast. This podcast is for business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business portfolio by acquisition, or at some point in the future, when to exit their business. We’re going to bring real life stories and experiences of people who have grown by acquisition, who have exited their businesses, and other areas of business such as funding and cash flows. So there’ll be lots of opportunity to learn different areas of business and how you can in the end, transition your business from a lifestyle to an asset to look forward to seeing you soon. Hi, and welcome to the building exit Podcast. I’m Judy Wilkinson, and I’m the owner and founder of Wilkinson accounting solutions. I started the build next year off the back of the work we do with my company, because we work on about three to five acquisitions a month, and came to realise that there was a big gap in the market of entrepreneurs, investors and business owners truly understanding financial statements, and how they’re impacting the cash flow of their business valuations and causing a lot of problems through due diligence because people haven’t got the right paperwork set up. So I’ve had to date around about 14 guests were in August 23. And I’ve decided to do a couple of episodes that are slightly different to normal. So I’ve had a lot of guests, everyone from sort of people who’ve done management buyouts bought distressed companies, funders, we’ve looked at HR, we’ve looked at a multitude of different areas. And we’ve got lots more to come. But I had a lot of people come to me, and ask about my own personal journey. And I actually had the pleasure of being interviewed on live TV in July 23, with a lady called Victoria Bill who hosts COMPUTER TV channel called NTV. And we’ve decided to bring those interviews into our podcast because it really gives an insight into the background, why I do what I do. And also you know why we’re passionate about acquisitions, myself and the company, and also what the future holds. So I’m excited to bring a lot of these sort of personal journey stories to the podcast channel. It’s a bit of a different format, because someone is interviewing me, not the other way around. But I think they’re great for people to get to know the person behind the show. So we’re at nearly 2000 downloads today. So which I’m really proud about. If you love our show, please hit the subscribe button. As I always say, if you have any content or episode content you’d like always contact us. But I hope you enjoy my own personal episodes. And I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Victoria Beale 

Now we’re going to talk about you actually working being 37 year old, you had a job, a really good job. We spoke about that earlier. And then you just decided I’m going to set up my own company. I mean, that’s quite a mad thing to do. Not everyone does it. So what enabled about what made that decision happen?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Yeah, so when my husband was saying to me for ages, or he thought it’d be good to start a business. And I think I don’t think it was really the accounting that stopped me doing I think it was more at first, it seems a bit like Mega going out, there’s a lot to do. So I actually started a sideline business. Initially, it was a CV writing business. That’s what I started with. And that really took off. I did about 100. In a year, I did a lot of like direct to self assess, direct to CVS and things like that. I did a lot of interview techniques. And I did about 100 in a year, I had a 95% success rate of getting people to interview. So I realised actually, maybe I was a bit more entrepreneurial than I thought. And yeah, so I then decided to go out. I always knew I did quite a bit of research. When I started the business. That’s one of the things I did so I asked so when I was saying earlier about when I was working with this SME business within the corporate company, I went and asked 20 businesses, what their accountants did for them, and 100% of their accounts once a year. So I find it quite strong because I’ve never worked in practice. So practice is like in an accounting firm and working for lots of companies. I’ve always worked in corporate. So if like one big company so I’d like 20 years at that point nearly in. In supply chain commercial finance, I think I’ve pretty much worked in every job you can work in, in a finance department within a corporate company. And then I went and spoke to accounting firms. I asked them well, what what do you offer and I was told nobody values management accounts. They either don’t want it. It’s hard to sell. It’s a lot of people try it and then just went back to doing sort of tax returns and bookkeeping. When I sort of delved into like what people saw as management accounts, I could see it wasn’t really what I believed was management, because I knew because I came from this, you know, commercial environment what reporting management information was. So what I realised was I think I had a skill set. I didn’t necessarily know at the time how I was going to do that use the skill set, but I knew I had a skill set. That’s what I knew. And so I knew that I could offer love businesses a lot. I just had to And then find out who are wanting to work with because like everybody is, you can’t although baby, theoretically, you can help everyone. Yeah, you can’t help everyone, not everyone’s going to be for you. And that’s the journey that I had to go on. I mean, it didn’t help. So I actually decided in ninth 2019. And I ended up working in my job. So I had to have my notice in and then But then I did a bit of contracting, so a lot of ft contracting for some companies. So I actually made the decision. It was Jan 20, when I actually had stopped everything because I so that was one of the things I made a decision is I could have carried on contracting. So it was good money. But I knew I wasn’t really building a business then why didn’t feel I was I was just sort of swapping time for money. And I thought that isn’t really what I wanted. So that was why I made the decision stop, then obviously, don’t turn it. And we all know what happened. This happened in 2020. I’m not gonna say the dreaded C word. But we all know what happened.

 

Victoria Beale 

Right? How funny you were literally, well, it wasn’t funny at the time, but you literally left a job, you set up a company, and then that happened. So how did you take this idea of a company and then grow it to just sort of half a million, which it is now. It was amazing.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

So I had well, I had a business I had I had a business plan. So honestly, that’s what we help people. So I’m very financially savvy. So I had a good Forecast Cash Flow. And I kind of just stuck to my guns. So I invested a lot of money. So the first year I think I invest probably about 15,000 pounds. And why did was because I had no social media presence at all. In Dunn 20. I was like, this is a bit of a worry, because I had like not really any customers no social media presence. And I had to just get out and do it so that I just did a bit of networking, invested this money in sort of LinkedIn training, sales, training and personal development to sort of learn, because I knew that I wanted to do sort of more advisory services, but it was don’t how do you sell those services to people. So I did get some CFO work. But so the first thing I did was rather although I did kind of do contracting, but I changed it. So rather than doing five days, I actually did more project based pricing. Because I think the best way you make money is not sort your time for money is to sort of more do pay. So that was how I first walked it was to make some money but not work every day of the week. And then I had to just be an outsourced a lot from the beginning. So I brought it firms and bookkeeper outsourced bookkeeper, things on right from the beginning, even though technically, I could have done it at that time, I just knew that I didn’t want to be wasting my time doing those things. So I invested. So I suppose I took a lot of risks. I invested a lot of money. And I spent a lot of money even though maybe I wasn’t always earning a lot of money. But then that just opened doors for me. So I did some FD works and how I got into acquisitions. So obviously, well, we specialise in mergers and acquisitions now, so we help people buy and sell businesses. That’s one of our key areas. And how I got into that initially was, I’ve done some CFO work for a company. And anyway, long and short of it was at the end of the contract, their broker came to me and said they were so impressed with what I’ve done when I help them. So I went in sort of contracted, because that was back then it was just me, obviously in 2020. So I went and did some consulting, consulting and some acquisition work for five or six companies that I’ve deals. And that’s all I can do this. I didn’t have the infrastructure first. So that’s what I had to build, like my own infrastructure to be able to do it. So that’s what I did. I just built the services and the packs and went out and got the CFOs to build the infrastructure, summarise that I sort of packaged up the services that I thought people needed. Obviously, we have developed it over time, because I didn’t know I reached out to networks. I also spent 18 months building LinkedIn presence. So that was another thing that I did was I didn’t go off. So it took me a long time, at least 18 months to build a proper and no to get good traction audience basically. Yeah. And I think people can get, you know, oh, if the algorithms not working, you know, they can’t be bothered to show up. I think you do just have to persist and not change necessarily. Because like he could like I could have any time to scroll. Do you know what? I’m just gonna go and do tax and bookkeeping. How often did you post on LinkedIn, for example? Well, I post it every day. Now I post two to three times every single day still, I just, I just, you know, schedule mine to like once a week to post them. But yeah, and I just had to keep going. And they did flop you know, sometimes and sometimes it was good. But now I’m seen as quite a you know, I get a lot of positive feedback. I get a lot of traction from LinkedIn, especially like direct messages and things in the acquisition industry specifically, obviously now I’ve launched my podcast this year as well. Exciting. Yeah. So about that. Yes, I decided to launch so now we’re on all social. So we’re on Instagram, Tik Tok. We have SEO, LinkedIn. And I decided to go on the podcast just because well, I just like this sort of thing with like podcasts. So I initially just guested on them, and then decided to launch my own. It’s called the building exit. And it is specifically around sort of acquisitions and Exit Planning. And I did it because I just saw there was such a lack of financial acumen within in business in general. So we see because of the consultancy work we do, we see a lot so we probably say about 100 balance sheets a month, I’d say within the company and And 98 Seven never reconcile. And most business owners don’t really understand. That’s why brokers get a bad name because people are expecting the brokers do like the adjusted EBIT DARS for the valuations. I don’t know how because it’s 10 years about accounting that’s causing the problems not really, and the understanding of the business in general. So that’s, I just thought, you know, people need more guidance and support. And that was the reason I started started the podcast.

 

Victoria Beale 

Yeah. So in an ideal world, you could wave a magic wand, okay. There’s young people watching the show today. And they think I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to be like, Julie, what advice could you give them?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

I think, definitely to have a business plan and a financial plan. And how important is that, just, I guess the importance of that, I think, is 100% important, because I think a lot of people get where they are from luck. Because some work some doesn’t work. You know, we saw in COVID, with the bounce back loans, you know, people are trading off other people’s money, because they’re not managing their cash flows, because they’re using their VAT and their tax money without planning it, and then when something happens, so obviously COVID was a big problem. But you know, even if you’re trying to change something in their business, or maybe you want to expand or do something differently, you come up against challenges them because you don’t have the right information to make decisions. So I really believe everyone should be planning, I don’t think you should have a business really without some form plan.

 

Victoria Beale 

And that’s the beauty about your company is that you help with all of those things, it’s very few accountants, it will just do, you know, they’ll just do the accounts, they won’t do the full commercial growth and, and planning and then eventual acquisition side. So tell us about the mergers and acquisitions because that is your specialist area of people watching. Explain, you know, in layman’s terms what that means and how you are actually on the on this sort of curve of that.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Yeah, so Mergers Acquisitions are basically in simple simple terms, you buy businesses so you’re buying a business or somebody else either you’re buying the assets or you’re buying the shares of the company so we help with so we help on either side. I mean, we predominantly probably do more of our work on the buy side. But we are that’s what the podcast genre because the sell side need to probably get more I think they need to sell us don’t tend to plan in advance. I think the UK is probably one of the countries that’s the furthest behind on planning for Brexit then most of the country’s people just just get to the point of despair and just decide to sell they think their businesses worth so much because their mate down the pub, other similar businesses sold it for eggs, but it’s you know, you can’t it’s not the same as selling the house. You know, businesses are run completely differently even similar sized businesses. And although there is a valuation to a business, so there is a you know, so valuations are typically three years past profit. So EBIT DA is like adjusted profits, there’s profit before interest, tax depreciation, amortisation. So it’s like an average three years. And there’s then there is a balance sheet. So there is a working capital. But the problem is, is the commercials are the business that really put the value. So the multiple someone’s willing to pay, both those numbers will be dependent on how well you’ve set it up to run. Typically, buyers don’t want to buy a job, they want to buy an asset. So if you’ve got an owner operators business where it’s your lifestyle, it isn’t technically worth as much less energy than if numerically is there? Because the person buying it has them fill that role and want to return themselves? That’s right. So if there is no money left, after you pay your own dividends, then the business really isn’t actually worth that much. Even though you might get a good lifestyle from it. Will somebody else?

 

Victoria Beale 

Wise words, yeah, not people who’ll be watching this at home will have a business. And they’ll you know, the way that you explained it is brilliant. So with the podcast side of things, you’re always looking for people to interview I take it Yeah, yeah. So what kind of person would be if someone’s watching today, they wanted to get in touch with you to go on your podcast. What kind of people would interest you?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

So we’ve had I mean, we’ve had about 13 or 14 guests now. So I’ve only had it about 14 weeks. So we we typically, we do interview some bigger entrepreneurs who have done multiple business, I think the last we’ve just interviewed someone that’s built built like 125 million in a year by doing 15 acquisitions. So we bet we do interview somewhere. But I also like guests that have sort of moved on from corporate to also acquisition entrepreneur, maybe done their first acquisition, we look at people that have exited, because actually, there’s a lot of stories where people have exited to maybe IPO or to like private equity and actually lost everything. So we had a guest that talked a lot about their mental breakdown as part of an exit, so it’s not always positive. But our set up off the podcast, we always look at a positive and a negative. So we will take the scenario and we look at what went well with it and what went negative and we get really good feedback from that because people like the fact that We actually talk about the real world, we don’t only show the positive things that’s really

 

Victoria Beale 

important. And if somebody wants to set up a podcast, can you just explain how you did that? Because that’s important as well, because maybe I would like to do a podcast. How did she do it?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Well, I outsource my pocket. I outsource everything. Well, I’ll plug it here. There’s a guy called Chris Hall. He uncatchable on LinkedIn. He does one podcast with me. So he helped me set it all up. I basically just record so I record the podcast and I give it to him and then he craves. It probably was about seven to 8000 pound investment. Yeah, it’s invested in properly to do it properly. Yeah, quite a few downloads don’t Yeah, we do. I mean, we are statistically nearly in the top 25% of podcasts from our download numbers. Based on what I’ve read. What’s the statistics say they are so yeah,

 

Victoria Beale 

we’re just a quick plug for there for Chris, if you’re watching. Yeah, Julie just mentioned you. We are about to go to commercial break. Just before we go, Julie, if to remind people, what’s your email address they want to get in contact with you.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

It’s Julie dot Wilkinson at Wilkinson accounting solutions dot doc code at UK or you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m Judy Wilson profit queen.

 

Victoria Beale 

There we go. We’ll see you after the. We shall see you guys. Thank you for watching this second section and we’ll see after the next commercial break. Welcome back to welcome back to NTV, unscripted. I’m Victoria Bo. I’m here with the wonderful Judy Wilkinson for Wilkinson accounting solutions. Now, just before we left for the commercial break, we were talking about Julie’s podcasts and downloads. How many downloads are you getting now?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Roughly? We’re about 1300. So on average, we were getting about over 100 of this episode at the minimum.

 

Victoria Beale 

And how many weeks have been running the podcast app?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

14 weeks?

 

Victoria Beale 

It’s amazing. Yeah. And would you say as a business owner, that’s a that’s a really good way of positioning yourself as one of the leaders and experts in your respective industry?

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Well, it seems to have been for me. So I’ve got a group CFO that works internally and everyone who speaks to them that I saw during the podcast. Everyone seems to well, the feedback I get people seem to like the podcast. So

 

Victoria Beale 

yeah, I’m a story, the fact that you talk about the good, the bad, the ugly of business. I mean, that’s amazing. So let’s talk about the future. Okay, so you left the job of 37 in nearly 40 In a couple of weeks time. And we will talk about climbing Kilimanjaro as well towards the end of this segment. But you have actually built a company in very super speedy time, which is testament to your expertise. And every all your knowledge that you have, which you’re sharing with others we’re doing for yourself. So explain, first of all, going from a three year business, how is that the sort of the growth side? Because that’s really, really impressive.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Yeah, so I had the 2020 was just me. 21 was when we started to do the acquisition infrastructure that I was talking about. So we have our own services. I have one employee at that time. And we had a couple of outsource bookkeepers. And then I actually saw real big traction in the acquisition market. We do about three to five months now within either acquisitions or Exit Planning a month, generally on average. So I actually then recruited my biggest hire, which was my group, CFO, Tilly, and she’ll be watching

 

Victoria Beale 

really Hello. And that’s a chief financial officer. Yes. Anyone watching so

 

Julie Wilkinson 

finance director other people might know them as Yeah. And that was like that. So that was in 22. So he’s just been here just about a year. But now we’ve got nine employed by 18. We’ve got seven CFOs that work with us but your master class? Yes, sir. Now I’ve just launched a master class how to understand accounting lingo.

 

Victoria Beale 

Yeah. Yeah, you’re on a on a on the sort of a Christopher wave there. Then we got the picture. As you pointed Tilly,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

yeah. So we’ve done our own acquisition. So we closed an acquisition. This year, we we bought some clients for retirement account in practice. So our aim is now we’re going on our own investment journey. So we help a lot with people with investments. So we do a lot of valuation debt pitch decks and cash flows for funding. We’ve got our own we’re gonna we want to do another three acquisitions. For me my personal journey. Obviously, I’m invested in wall concerns. I want it to grow. But it’s not the only thing I do. So I do invest in property. I’ve got some angel investments in some tech companies, we do a bit of gold trading. I do have a lot of connections and friends of in acquisitions, which I do outside of Wilkerson’s as well. I do professional speaking, yes. Hence why I’m here today. I do I help I talk a lot about older learning, and how to how I became sort of like we talked about the accounting you know, in the accounting industry, how I became chart without going to university and an older age. I know it wasn’t old, but it wasn’t old, raising people going to university. I talk a lot about acquisitions and Exit Planning, because we help a lot of people on build. Our ultimate aim is help people make finance become a culture because when we talk about Well, how do I transition my business from a lifestyle to an asset? The fact is you have to have a good governance and controls across the whole business, which is what I find that function does. So we have a virtual finance team where we give people access to the relevant skill set within finance that they need. So I don’t typically work in the business, that that often I do still work in it, but we are looking to recruit a CEO at some point and allow me to sort of step back and sort of be more of the face and do my other things as well.

 

Victoria Beale 

But it might be someone watching at home. So remind us of your email address again. Puli. Yes,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Julie dot will concern at Wilkinson accounting solutions dot code at UK.

 

Victoria Beale 

Fantastic. So just remind everyone of that, because there could be somebody watching his suitable you never know, in terms of the future, then. So what we’ve we’ve done the business, so we’re just short of half a million turnover in three years. That’s amazing. Congratulations, by the way. multi award winning as well. I think we do have some pictures of you winning awards. And speaking as well, which our producer will show and we’ve been nominated

 

Julie Wilkinson 

for awards, we have a few awards that we didn’t know, we don’t know who nominated us, we’ve won some nominations. So yeah,

 

Victoria Beale 

fantastic. client base, the typical fights you’re working with a million plus turnover businesses sexual niche. Yeah,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

we do typically do about one to 20 mil. work all over the world, and we work in 11 countries at the minute. It’s amazing. And we work yeah, like I say we do we help people get their funding, so to help them with their caches and pitch decks. And I suppose my personal journey is just to keep growing it I’d say we’re going on our own acquisition journey. Me personally, I’m trying to go, you know, continue with my professional speaking and my master classes. And obviously, we’ve got some events launching, haven’t

 

Victoria Beale 

we, Victoria? Do we Global Women’s Conference as the global will come for us? It’s kind of Milton Keynes on the sixth of October, I believe a hotel at all. So yes, we will send details of that. And I’ll talk about that next time. But God, we’ve got 10 minutes left of this show. Okay. Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you would like to mention while you’re here? It was

 

Julie Wilkinson 

the fact that I’m climbing Kilimanjaro. Yes. So I’m climbing. I actually fly next Sunday. Right. So that’s exciting.

 

Victoria Beale 

Are you supporting a charity? Yeah,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

we’ve got we’re doing it for the wealth protection. Okay. And World Animal Protection. So, obviously, I love animals and dogs. So yeah, that’s what we’re doing it for. So I’m looking forward to doing that. It’s gonna be a

 

Victoria Beale 

feat. Fantastic. And the training for that as well.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Yeah. I’ve been training. Yeah.

 

Victoria Beale 

And what’s the what we’re talking two miles or

 

Julie Wilkinson 

5000 metres? So six and a half days up, right? One and a half days down? We sound strange, but it’s because you’re acclimatised obviously it’s the altitude. Yeah,

 

Victoria Beale 

fantastic. Well, just before we go, because we only have a couple of minutes left. Now. What if someone’s watching this particularly young woman, let’s say, all young man, but I think you’re going to inspire lots of women today. What’s the sort of top tips you could give somebody who’s inspired by your story? I want to be like her, I want to be an entrepreneur, what would you say to them now,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

I think, start to meditate, and not get down in dwelled into the day to day. So try and step outside of your comfort zones a little bit. Because when we only if we always do the same thing, nothing ever changes, have a plan. So plan it what you want to do, and then give it a go and no stick to your plan. People move out of fear too often, like I see it quite a lot. They’re doing one thing, and then some they don’t get what they think they’re gonna get. So they’ll just do something else, because it might make them a bit of money at that time. But actually, it’s not really what they want to do. So they’re not It’s not aligned to them personally. So they don’t really enjoy it. And in the end, what most people end up doing, even when they run a business is is build themselves another job. Right, which I think is why a lot people get out of entrepreneur and want to go into entrepreneurship not to do that. But I think unfortunately, a lot of them do. Yeah. And that’s what we see a lot in the in the acquisitions when so many people are still running their business and have been for 20 years. Yes,

 

Victoria Beale 

exactly. Okay, well, we’ve got like 30 seconds left for this show. So just remind us of your email again,

 

Julie Wilkinson 

Julie dot Wilkinson at Wilkinson accounting solutions dot code at UK

 

Victoria Beale 

and they’re all over social media. Yes, but

 

Julie Wilkinson 

it’s the tick tock. Obviously, the build and exit podcast. Yeah. Yeah, LinkedIn, Facebook. So we’re on all socials.

 

Victoria Beale 

And what I will say if any of you are watching, Julie is always looking to speak to investors. She’s always looking for staff members. anyone’s interested in mergers and acquisitions or even being a guest on her podcast. please do get in touch with her after watching today. Now we’re going to wrap up and it’s been wonderful being back here on this wonderful set here at the NTV studio. And I shall see you again soon. Julie, thank you so much for being here today. Thanks for having me. We’ll see you saying guys.

 

Julie Wilkinson 

So once again, thank you so much for taking the time to listen to our podcast. I hope you found it useful. If you did, there’s anyone else in your network that might benefit from our podcast and please share it with Don’t even just click the link and send it to them or send it in a Facebook group or other social media channel. Don’t forget to subscribe so other podcasts that come to you directly as a when we launch them, so I’m really looking forward to seeing you next time. We’ve got some really exciting things coming up. And we’ll see you again soon.