UK opportunity for Cork tax firm

The preparation of tax returns and the processing of payroll for a number of busy central London accountancy firms is now being carried out by start-up company CPC Outsourcing in Bandon, Co Cork.

One of only a few companies of its kind in Ireland, CPC Outsourcing offers specialist UK tax services to accountancy firms. Named as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the North and West Cork Local Enterprise Office last month, company founder Caroline Crowley has big plans for 2015.

“We are targeting new clients in London, Belfast, Aberdeen, and Manchester and are planning to recruit an additional 10 staff,” she says.

Ms Crowley claims the key selling point for CPC Outsourcing is that it reduces costs.

“Clients who outsource this service can avoid the costs of hiring an additional staff member. We can offer lower prices than UK-based outsourcing services because overheads in West Cork are substantially lower.”

The company’s other main selling point is its technology. “We have invested in high-tech infrastructure and systems and offer a highly automated service. The ordering process is facilitated by Android and iPhone apps so that our services can be ordered on the go.’’

A qualified chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor, Ms Crowley, a former Miss Cork, worked in Ernst and Young before moving to London to work for a private tax boutique in Mayfair, which offered services to high net worth individuals.

It was while trying to find an outsourcing option for this firm that she saw an opening that might be filled by an Irish company. “We needed UK-specific tax support — anything I could find was either very expensive or in the Far East”. While still working in London she approached Enterprise Ireland which provided her with funding for a feasibility study. She got positive feedback from accountancy companies in London and decided to take the plunge.

Before returning to Ireland at the end of last year she signed up two clients which gave her a head start when she established her new company, which operates as a division of Charles P Crowley (CPC), her father’s accountancy practice in Bandon.

“The practice has 6,000sq ft of space which gives us room to scale up,’’ says Ms Crowley, who began offering specialist UK tax services early this year. She took on a tax accountant for the division within a few months and has now recruited a London-based business development manager.

“We now have six customers, all based in the UK and Northern Ireland — some are accounting practices with 300 or 400 clients. For these, we offer a range of services including payroll processing, Vat returns, invoice processing, management accounts and manual data entry as well as technical tax consultancy.”

The company is in the process of signing two new clients including a UK tax manager — which will require assistance with filing a minimum of 100 tax returns for the UK deadline on January 31.

Ms Crowley is planning to recruit a minimum of 10 staff next year. ”We are hoping to attract tax professionals in the UK who want to come home to Ireland or people who have this kind of experience who are living in Ireland,” she says.

CPC Outsourcing has already made a partnership arrangement with a similar type of company in Belfast and part of the plan now is to join forces to go after large public tenders. “Our aim by 2017 is to have a staff of 30 people and to have increased our number of clients to between 14 and 20,’’ she says.

CPC Outsourcing has been financed by Ms Crowley with some support from Enterprise Ireland. She says that the company has been in profit since a few months after it was set-up.

In October Ms Crowley was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the North and West Cork Local Enterprise Office and CPC Outsourcing received €20,000 and the award for best established business with a new add on. This month the company takes part in the regional finals of the Local Enterprise Office awards.

One of only a few companies of its kind in Ireland, CPC Outsourcing offers specialist UK tax services to accountancy firms, writes Trish Dromey

“Our aim by 2017 is to have a staff of 30 people and to have increased our number of clients to between 14 and 20”

Clients who outsource this service can avoid the costs of hiring an additional staff member

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