Leonard & Company is based in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin. We are a multidisciplinary professional services accountancy practice that provides SMEs and individuals with a range of business supports, including audit, financial, taxation and business advisory services.

We have recently begun to specialise in forensic accounting, marital separations and litigation support. We noticed a gap in the market and, working with a number of our own solicitor clients, have become very successful in this field.

My father once told me to never ask someone to do something you haven't or wouldn't do yourself

Law Society accounts regulation compliance forms the largest concentration of our client base. In addition to annual accounts and income tax returns, we undertake a complete a review of solicitor client funds and prepare the accountant’s report for submission to the Law Society. Solicitors have always been excellent for referring new business.

My father once told me to never ask someone to do something you haven't or wouldn't do yourself. It guides my approach to the working environment. As a medium-sized firm, we are a very flat organisation, with an open-door policy.  Balancing the administration of the firm with my practice partner, Keith Mooney FCCA, and the many demands this brings, while also trying to get a day’s work complete, I admit I sometimes feel I am a clown juggling in the circus!

A key challenge for us in the year ahead will be meeting the ever-increasing deadlines and compliance for SMEs. The Companies Registration Office’s position on late filing and losing audit exemption is akin to a ‘tax’ on accountants, ensuring they file on time rather than requiring the client to take some of the responsibility.

I believe a larger late-filing fee rather than loss of audit exemption would ensure clients engaged sooner. Compliance with Revenue and the short response times they are demanding also puts pressure on firms. We hope that increasing data automation will assist in meeting these deadline-driven times.

The mood among businesses we advise is upbeat at the moment. Most of our clients managed to navigate the pandemic successfully and have actually come out stronger. Pent-up consumer demand, after nearly two years of restrictions, is also a positive; however, high inflation and raising interest rates are a serious concern.

Wage demands and recruitment issues are also a challenge for all our clients. A careful balancing act is required to ensure demand remains high and growth continues.

The most important business lesson I have learned is the value of saying ‘no’ to an engagement once in a while

For myself, I’d like 2022 to be a year of slowing down and gaining a better work-life balance. Having two children, just 13 months apart, during lockdown, I saw how working from home afforded me so much family time with my wife and two boys. This has been lost slightly with offices reopening.

In relation to learning, accountancy never stands still, and it is very important to keep up to date with all aspects of a general practice. Thankfully, ACCA provides excellent learning opportunities during the year.

The most important business lesson I have learned in my career is the value of saying ‘no’ to an engagement once in a while. We spend so much time at our desks working for other people, ensuring they are complaint in all aspects of their business, so it is important to work for people who appreciate the skills we have built up over the years.