What is ‘Cheap accounting’ all about?

I wonder how many readers of this blog had heard of Elaine Clark before I awarded her the ‘best overnight budget summary‘ last week?

Elaine qualified as a chartered accountant in 1988 and now and runs one of the fastest growing online accountancy practices in the UK. She established it in 2007 and has a number of associates operating their own practices under the same brand name. Indeed Elaine offers a mentoring service for those who want to establish their own practice and benefit from the leads that come from web searches and her related online engagement.

I must admit that I was initially doubtful about the name of her practice: Cheap Accounting, although I do accept that it’s very attractive for online searches. After all, no one googles to find an expensive accountant do they?!

I was always taught that ‘cheap’ went with ‘nasty’. That we should not encourage clients to choose their accountant solely by reference to price – and that a focus on being cheap encourages them to do so.  And then there is the theory that although most clients want accountancy services provided (1) fast, (2) accurate and (3) cheap – they have to choose  just 2 of the 3 .

Having discussed this with Elaine I must admit to being wrong.  I now understand Elaine’s passion and her business model. Her practice offers ‘cheap’ accounting services in that they keep costs down and run an efficient and focused service. They can do this through a reliance on computer-based book-keeping packages and other technology that allows them to operate in a very cost-effective manner.  As explained on her website: “Quality is in no way compromised. CheapAccounting operates to a set of very high service values”.

Inevitably, perhaps, most of Elaine’s clients have straight forward accountancy and taxation needs. Needs that her experienced network of CheapAccounting.co.uk accountants are well capable of addressing. However from time to time there may be a more complex tax issue which requires more specialist advice.

I am delighted to announce that Elaine has chosen my Tax Advice Network to provide tax support when required. We have agreed a working alliance which is clearly promoted on her website.

For obvious reasons I do  not give permission for just anyone to include our logo on their website. Indeed Elaine is the first person to have that authority – beyond the tax adviser members of the Network of course.

I hope that readers are sufficiently intrigued to want to check out the Cheap Accounting website. It’s very different to most accountants’ websites. It’s also popular and successful at drawing in the sort of business that Elaine is targeting. Oh, and it even tells visitors how easy it is to change their accountant. I think we could all learn something from her approach.  Let me know what you think….

By |2011-03-31T09:12:56+00:00March 31st, 2011|Pricing, Tax related|

About the Author:

Mark Lee FCA is an accountancy focused futurist, influencer, speaker, mentor, author and debunker.


  1. Sandra Mitchell 31st March 2011 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I’ve watched the progress of Cheap Accounting with great interest.

    I too agree that business owners must be educated about accounting and tax, and not only own their information, but use it to run their business.

    Efficiency through automation, especially using accounting packages, is a subject dear to my heart, and it’s great to see Cheap Accounting not only championing use of accounting packages, but giving clients a choice.

  2. Jason Holden 6th April 2011 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I very much agree there is a place for this type of practice, for those with simple affairs that do not require an advisor to be more involved with their business.

    It would not work for our clients as bookkeeping and year end compliance is only a small part of what we do for them.

  3. Markchris 5th December 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this definition of cheapaccounting, Nice article

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