Growth Story: Discover how Paul Wareham, a self-proclaimed unconfident marketer, wins the right type of clients every month

Paul Wareham of PS Accountants would describe himself as an unconfident marketer. Which is why he first bought a franchise — to help him generate leads. Coming out of the franchise, he learned how to win the right type of clients. But how did he do it? And what can you do to implement these same changes into your practice?

Heather and Paul recently sat down for a virtual chat about how Paul embraced his inner marketing crayons. In this conversation, Paul shared:

  • Strategies he used to secure monthly £5k-£10k GRF of new business wins (every single month).
  • How identifying and capitalising on a niche was a game changer (despite some skepticism!).
  • The critical mindset shifts he made to move from merely growing to strategically scaling his practice.
  • How he adjusted his systems and management style to maximise his team’s productivity.

We’ve recapped their conversation in this blog post, but if you’d prefer to listen or watch the interview, click below!



Around the world and back again

Paul Wareham is a proud Mancunian and avid cyclist with a thriving practice based in Greater Manchester. With an industry background, his career brought him to Dubai and Switzerland before he moved back to the North West. Once back in England, his journey in practice started with a TaxAssist franchise. Eventually, he left the franchise to open PS Accountants, an independent Quickbooks-focused practice co-owned with his wife, Sue.

Always happy to work hard, Paul is a grafter. He not so secretly loves getting stuck into a pile of tax returns (or, as he calls it, ‘production’) and once upon a time wanted to win every single client instead of targeting a niche. And as a believer of marginal gains, Paul’s Mancunian spirit is driven by a mindset that ‘you can always do 1% more’. But that recently led to burnout, a hospital visit and long Covid. (And a severe telling off by his wife and Growth Specialist. Ouch… We will get to that later.)


Setting up the business

PS Accountants (PSA) is a Quickbooks ProAdvisor practice in North Manchester. The team used to have multiple offices, but this was scaled back to one as it was more efficient to operate from one location. They are seven-and-a-half-strong (including outsourcers) and, since 2019, have consistently had £5k-£10k in gross recurring revenue to bring turnover to £400k and counting.

PSA support manufacturing, engineering and haulage firms — clients who like to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty — with their tax, payroll, bookkeeping and advisory needs. Paul’s commercial background gives him an excellent lens with which to help grow his firm and help clients grow in a smart, commercial and efficient fashion.

But once upon a time, the PSA client roster wasn’t so niche. In fact, Paul used to make a point of saying that he was still winning work without a niche. Then he got busy. And realised it wasn’t easy to juggle so many different types of clients. Worse still, his pipeline wasn’t flowing along in the way it needed to be to identify potential work wins and forecast for recruitment, etc.

Some things needed to change and that meant a few shifts in mindset.


Committing to growth

A shift in mindset is a powerful thing. For Paul, four shifts took place:

a wall full of sticky notes to represent sudden business growthMindset Shift #1: Systems and processes are the key to scalability

The first mindset shift that needed to take place was feeling the need/want to drop back in and save the business if needed. (So there was always a safety net in case of a team member leaving or maternity cover.) But that wasn’t scaling the business, it was stunting it.

Paul got back to basics and recognised he was weak on systems and processes. Admittedly not a fan of systemising everything, he realised that this was not about him, but about the practice and what needed to be in place for scalability. Instead of going after every shiny toy, he asked himself questions about the processes, systems and accompanying softwares that he could possibly use:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What am I doing it for?
  • What does it mean for the clients?
  • Is it efficient within the practice?
  • Can it get any more efficient without client service being hit?

With this, he could choose the right tools, automate as much as possible and move his clients over to Quickbooks exclusively. Combined with Dext to help with workflow management and a few other key tools, things have streamlined in a fashion where Paul can bolt on any new work sustainably.


Mindset Shift #2: Identifying a niche will open doors, not close them

Paul would say that he isn’t a natural “creative” or marketing person, and he was reluctant to focus on a niche. But he rolled up his sleeves, going through the PS Accountants client base to identify: who they are, what they do, where they are based, if the team liked working with them. It turns out that the PSA favourite clients are people who make and move things.

With this pegged, the next step was to identify where these clients find their info and deliver consistent messaging on the website, social media, pricing packages, blogs, and the Quickbooks Directory. This was all done from the client’s point of view in mind, which also led to a realisation that clients liked to call, not click the Calendly link — which was important for messaging. And guess what? It worked.

New clients were calling up wanting to sign on for the middle and top packages, and the team was set up to take on the work. But then in 2020, the world stopped, and so did the leads.


Getting through the tough times

As with any business, there are always some hiccups — big and small. Here is how Paul navigated business growth throughout the pandemic and a health scare:

a group of people holding lego figures to represent how to get your team to step upMindset Shift #3: Your current client base will always be your best source of new business

Communication with the current client base was the key to switching on consistent monthly work wins of £5k-£10k in the middle of the pandemic. Clients needed information, so Paul leaned on the AGC how-to resources on navigating the nuances of operating a business in the pandemic and scheduled a weekly email. This led to phenomenal feedback, trust and new business pouring in.

‘And from all that goodwill and all that information that we gave out, the referral tap got turned on, unbelievably so.’

If anything, the hardest part of this was saying no to new business. Paul admits it was initially tough to send people away if they weren’t the right fit. But he realised he needed to make space for the clients he did want. (And then there are clients who want to stay, even when you raise the fees by 10%!)

Fun fact: AGC members that embrace saying no to the wrong type of client are the ones who grow quicker!


Mindset Shift #4: 1% better can also mean not doing everything yourself

As mentioned earlier, Paul is a believer in marginal gains — you can always do 1% more. When his practice manager went on maternity leave in 2022, Paul took the opportunity to break and build the practice back up in lemonade fashion. But was it too much?

A wake-up call came for Paul when he ended up in the hospital and then with a bought of long covid. It was time to listen to his body when it said, ‘not today, Paul. We've already stretched the elastic band’. Though scary (and earning the aforementioned telling off from his wife and Heather), it was also an opportunity to get 1% more out of the team and the systems he’d put in place. And that in itself was a marginal gain.

Paul has since also changed his management style to bring the team on the PSA journey: why it’s great place to work, who they support, what they do for clients, why what they do matters, how to identify opportunities with current clients and more.


Lessons learned: key takeaways from the journey so far

a pair of glasses on a notebook that says if you can believe it, you can achieve it, to represent how to develop a growth mindsetThese are Paul’s key takeaways as he moves forward into his next phase of growth:

  • I can’t do everything.
  • Automate everything that can be automated; the systems and processes will create efficiency you will thank yourself for later.
  • Choosing a niche was the right thing to do; do it before you think you need to.
  • A few high-value clients are better than 20 low-value self-assessment clients.
  • We can only do what’s best for the client.


What’s next?

Paul and the PS Accountants team continue to grow from strength to strength. They continue to work to do the little things fantastically well, at the right price where there’s value for the client and profit for the firm. He and his family look forward to enjoying some travelling this year.

If you’re an AGC member, you can catch Paul hosting the Wednesday session of our Daily Power Ups and co-facilitating the annual 6-month Certified Growth Advisor programme.

** PS Accountants is a Quickbooks ProAdvisor firm based in Greater Manchester. If you want to get in touch with Paul to learn more about his journey and/or to pick his brain, you can contact him


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