Happy Valentines

Vicki Longmore MICB owns and runs the Luca Award-winning bookkeeping practice Starbooks Ltd, with her partner Barry Fender. The couple’s stellar efforts have culminated in being shortlisted as finalists for five ICB Luca Awards since 2016, including New Practice of the Year 2016 and Small Practice of the Year 2018 & 2019. Vicki became the 2018 Luca Award winner of Members Social Media Presence of the Year.

How did you meet?

We met as schoolchildren in Somerset and later relocated to Plymouth in our adult years, without each other’s knowledge.  When we met again and got together in 2014, Barry worked in social services and was part of an Oasis tribute band. One night, I was out with my friends and spotted him on stage playing bass guitar in the local pub.

When did you start working together?

In 2015, I was trying to build up my business but did not have a good work/life balance. My children were still quite young, and I had no control over my time management. Barry suffered a slipped disc and had to give up his employed position. He found that he could alleviate my ever-increasing workload in an administrative capacity, and he could also be around for the children. In 2016, I also suffered a slipped disc. This was when we decided that if we could somehow work together on a long-term basis, define our roles and responsibilities within the business and play to each other’s strengths, we could maintain the quality of our family life and still provide outstanding service across my client base whilst growing the Practice gradually. Barry came on board and Starbooks Ltd was born!

Who takes on particular roles within the business?

I guess you could say I am the face of Starbooks. My clients generally connect with me and that’s because strong relationships have been built over many years. Barry is instrumental in ensuring our smooth operation. He is our Practice Manager, Compliance Officer & Data Protection Officer. We share the Marketing/PR/Social media side of things. Barry is also our clients’ first point of contact regarding software technical support. He built and manages our website and its functionality (under my inexperienced guidance!).

What have you learned about/from each other since you started working together?

We try to play to each other’s strengths and we each pick up the slack if one of us is struggling with a problem. I’ve learnt that with the right partner and team there is no problem that can’t be solved without a little thought and a lot of effort. Fortunately, we are both on the same page with regards to our vision and the effort expended produces the results we desire.

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?

We’re both usually so busy with work and the children that we rarely find time to go out and do ‘couple things’ so this Valentine’s Day we are giving each other the gift of quality time and taking the day off. For the first time in what seems like forever we will enjoy a relaxing day off, together.