Pearl Lily & Co Accountants are based at Bethnal Green's Pill Box. Co-founder Jon talked to us about the history behind his business, who really wears the trousers and why beer, writing and maths are behind everything Pearl Lily & Co do.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
Engineer turned accountant, cancer survivor, married to my business partner Artha, with two junior daughters. Honestly, it has been more fun than it reads.
Tell us about your business and how you got started.
We are a husband and wife team of accountants who do. Micro-businesses need things done, not talked about. 'Practical, pro-active and professional,' we say. We started with a few secondhand computers in a small, dusty office in the best tradition of boot-strapping a business.
Where were you based before?
Under the cable car in the Royal Docks, and still there looking up at the stars.
Why did you decide to move into Pill Box?
Lovely neighbours, and to get my taxi fixed under the arches.
Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
Just being business-wise. It's a long, hard journey to be proud of.
What have been your biggest business challenges?
Always 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being Micro', but the 'Great Financial Crises' deserves a special mention.
How are you funded?
Seeded with pocket money, grown on a diet of cold porridge and retained earnings to keep it in the family.
Did you seek any outside help?
Have you not read The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus?
Where do you see Pearl Lily & Co Accountants in a year's time?
Having more cash.
In three years’ time?
Even more cash. We love the crushing logic of simple folklore here in the counting house.
What are the most important trends in accountancy and the professional services?
Poor old clients' necks being squeezed by the taxman until 2020. Oh, and 'there is still a lot for the Office of Tax Simplification to tackle'.
If you weren’t in charge at Pearl Lily & Co Accountants, what would you be doing?
Artha's in charge.
What do you think the rest of your team would be doing?
Artha would still be counting other people's money – it's useful, you know. Accountants invented writing for tracking beer rations thousands of years before Luca Pacioli's double-entry treatise in 1494. Beat that for being useful: beer, writing, maths and enabling that Renaissance arty, science-y stuff.
What are the most important things for you in an office space?
Screens the size of my enormous desk and, at last, after waiting 30 years, a usable computer.
What's your office luxury?
Accountants are not allowed luxury, we call it subsistence.
Find out more about Pearl Lily & Co Accountants.