Award-winning CDC Accounting, based in Llangollen, now employs seven people and is one of the fastest-rising finance companies in the region.
Led by managing director Chris Cheeney, the company has been praised by salon owners, clinicians and clients nationwide for its proactive approach during the Coronavirus pandemic, organising weekly online seminars and streaming live presentations by experts offering free advice and guidance during a challenging period for the industry.
The dad-of-two, originally from Wrexham, has created a community of owners and managers sharing best practice, support, and goodwill.
With more than 80 businesses on their books – and the vast majority operating in the UK’s hair, health, aesthetics and beauty industries – Chris has big plans for the future, though his immediate priority is the wellbeing of staff and loved ones.
“The success of the social media group and our regular talks and seminars has been amazing, and exactly what many of our clients needed right now,” he said.
“I wanted to build a community of people I could help and support, and that’s come to fruition as a lot of them are at home and their businesses and salons are closed but they are staying focused, working on ideas and strategy, doing administrative tasks and using the time wisely.
“That’s all we can do right now; stay strong and help each other through this – I am just happy to be able to help.”
CDC Accounting has come a long way from the back bedroom of the Llangollen home Chris shares with wife Sara – founder of Pure Perfection Clinic in Rossett – and their two children.
He created the business in 2004 but went solo in 2014, having worked as a trainee accountant with Dad David, and later as a financial analyst.
“Dad was and still is an accountant, and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps,” said the former Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupil.
“I served my apprenticeship and then began life as a financial analyst, working at some larger companies in North Wales. I was something of a spreadsheet whiz and ended up making myself redundant on several occasions because I effectively made the role fully automated!”
With most of his clients in Scotland and Yorkshire due to word of mouth and CDC’s burgeoning reputation, Chris is now targeting growth closer to home.
The vision is to increase the number of employees and double their database of clients, but not at the expense of “the personal touch” which has served them so well over the last six years.
“We have grown but I only took on my first member of staff in 2016, so it’s been steady,” said Chris.
“There are now seven of us and we have a new starter joining us this summer, with more to follow, but again everything is done steadily. This is a sustainable business, now more than ever people need to look at their long-term plans and be strategic.”
And Chris is following his own advice and taking a more fluid role in the coming months, creating systems and processes to ensure the company runs smoothly as he develops other areas of his career.
“I plan to write a book on my business journey and enjoy the speaking side of the industry at events and conferences, so that’s something I would like to do more,” he said.
“We have done things a little differently at CDC by being more niche and embracing technology in what is a traditionally dry sector, and that’s given me a fresh perspective. It keeps me motivated.”
His outlook changed completely four years ago when Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Chris was working 60-hour weeks and trying to care for her and their young children. Work began to suffer. He lost clients and did not know where to turn.
The 36 year-old took the decision to take on a member of staff. It was the right move, and not only gave the firm a new lease of life, it gave him one as well.
“I was trying to do too much so I ended up doing things badly and letting myself and other people down,” said Chris.
“That was a sharp learning curve as I was also caring for Sara, so I took someone on to help me, which was exactly what I needed.
“From a terrible life situation came a valuable lesson, and as my wife recovered and her health improved, so did that of my business.”
He added: “With Sara and I owning a skin clinic it became apparent the smart move was to look at that sector from an accounting point of view, and things just took off from there. I know how it works, I know the numbers and what it takes to make a success of it, so that is an advantage.
“We will grow, the coming months and years look exciting, and there is so much I want to do.
“I like to be inspired, and to try and inspire others, so the aim now is to all get through this current situation so when things do get back to normal – whatever ‘normal’ is in these circumstances – the online community we have built up in past weeks remains strong and committed to helping one another.
“We must make sure as much good comes from this as possible, so we can all build and grow together.”