Sara Graff runs a successful nanny tax and nanny PAYE company in North East London as well as running Sara Graff and Co, an accountancy company offering tax advice and services to businesses across the UK.
ML: What was your background before starting Taxing Nannies?
SG: I trained as a Chartered Accountant passing my examinations first time (at that time there was a 20% pass rate) and qualified at the age of 22 and passed the Institute of Taxation examinations a couple of years later. My career was initially based in small to medium sized accountancy practices and I became audit manager and latterly PA to partner which gave me the opportunity to take on my own portfolio of clients. It was at that point that I began to realise how essential it was to build relationships with clients and how communication is such an important part of being a Chartered Accountant. I began to appreciate that being a good accountant is more about being a “people” person than being able to deal with the numbers.
ML: What made you start Taxing Nannies?
SG: I continued to work for a firm of accountants following the birth of my two sons, but when I returned from maternity leave after my younger son was born, the firm had changed and I was subsequently made redundant. At the same time, I came across an article in the Daily Telegraph which discussed the impending penalty regime for the late filing of employers’ end of year returns and how this was going to affect small employers paying tax for their employees including those that employed nannies. I already employed a nanny to look after my two small children and thought that there may be a niche to start a specialist payroll agency helping employers to deal with paying nanny taxes and with the help of my redundancy package I launched Taxing Nannies in 1995.
ML: Why are you different to the other companies offering payroll services, for nannies or otherwise?
SG: I was very fortunate that when I was employed, I always worked for very professional firms and I progressed through my early career appreciating how important it was to be highly professional, ethical and efficient but also valuing and understanding clients. I believe that these values have been passed on to the team at Taxing Nannies and it is this ethos that sets our firm apart from other nanny payroll agencies.
We aim to deliver a highly personal service to our clients so that they feel free to contact us whenever they have a problem in dealing with their nanny taxes. We believe that the service is more than just ensuring our clients pay the correct tax for their nanny – it is about delivering a first class, professional, all encompassing, welcoming service. All our staff are approachable and they will always make time to discuss issues with our clients that are important to them, whether it is when they first take on a nanny, when their nanny becomes pregnant, gets sick or ultimately leaves. We always “go that extra mile” to ensure our clients get the information they need and are put at ease.
Although we have continued to grow as a business, we have retained that personal element and it is important for us that our clients are seen as individuals and not just another name, particularly as we do not get to meet most of our clients face to face.
We also pride ourselves in being pro-active, providing regular newsletters to our clients and bringing matters such as the implications of a change in salary or tax code to an individual client’s attention, rather than just going through the motions of amending the payslip to reflect those changes.
We know that we are not the cheapest nanny payroll agency but we have made a conscious decision that we do not wish to sacrifice the quality of our service. Our fees still only work out at 67p per day inclusive of VAT and have remained unchanged for six years.
ML: Who and where are your clients?
SG: A large proportion of our clients reside in London and the Home Counties but we act for employers of nannies nationwide including Scotland. The majority of our clients are parents employing nannies and these cover a complete cross section of the public. We also act for employers of housekeepers, butlers, gardeners and other domestic staff.
Our payroll arm also extends to businesses for which we carry out payroll services for directors and staff.
ML: Why are you so passionate about the service the company offers?
I have built up this business in the knowledge that we provide the very best service possible to our clients at a keen price. It is so satisfying to the team when, as often happens, clients express their gratitude for the help that we have provided. Most of our clients are busy people, many juggling a demanding career with a young family and busy home life. It is our aim to ease their burden by removing one hassle from their hectic schedule and experience has shown that we really achieve that.
ML: Who are your team?
Denise Connick and Sally Beale are my valued team members who have worked with me for 14 years and 12 years respectively. In addition, we have several additional administrative members of staff that form part of our busy team. Denise previously worked as Assistant Staff Manager at Marks and Spencer and as Personnel Assistant at Taylor Walker and Sally worked for several years for the American military in Germany. They have both worked hard to help me build up the business and to provide the high level of service for our clients. All our current staff are female and mothers who have raised families whilst carrying on a career, and therefore have an empathy with our clients.
To contact Sara and her team about the services offered by Taxing Nannies or Sara Graff and Co, email post@taxingnannies or call them on 020 8882 6847.