Hilary Bevan, Bevan VAT Consultancy Limited

1. Tell us a little about your business?

Bevan VAT Consultancy provides VAT advice to firms of accountants, solicitors, businesses, charities, and individuals.

2. What is the most rewarding aspect of running an independent business in the region?

Whilst I do work with clients all over the country, the majority of my work comes from local businesses and it feels great to help them get a VAT issue resolved with HMRC or to take the weight off their shoulders during a VAT visit. When I see the name of a client on an advert or in an article, it gives me a warm feeling to know that I’ve helped their business. I feel privileged to get a “behind the scenes” look at so many products and how they come to be. I’m very proud to be part of the North East business community.

3. And what are the key challenges?

The challenges I face are the same as any small business; decisions about staffing, future expansion plans, networking, the impact of COVID-19, etc.

4. In a post-COVID world, how have you adapted your working practices?

In theory, as long as I have a computer and a copy of the VAT legislation I can work from anywhere but during lockdown I did find it mentally difficult working from home and being out of my normal routine.

I feel very lucky to rent an office at Business Central in Darlington as the staff there made sure we knew what was happening with regular email updates about the procedures that would be in place within the building so we knew what to expect when we came back.

I have an office to myself so didn’t have to make many changes to my workspace but the way I meet with clients has changed. I’ve embraced virtual meetings via Teams and Zoom and I’m sure this will continue after the COVID-19 restrictions are long gone as it is a great way to facilitate discussion.

There have also been a few instances where I’ve met clients in the middle of a car park so they could drop off a file whilst remaining socially distanced!

I was appointed as a Director of Darlington Business Club in May and we’ve been having regular virtual networking events to try to keep in touch with as many members as possible.

5. How does Business Central support your business plans?

Business Central is a great place to work. The staff are always welcoming and it is a nice place to bring clients for a meeting. Obviously we are avoiding as many meetings as possible at the moment but there is plenty of space here to allow social distancing when required.

I took part in a virtual business regeneration workshop organised by Business Central which was really interesting. There is a great community here and the businesses all want to see each other succeed.

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