Indie Oxford Interview: Phil Cockayne of Marshes

 In Indie Oxford Interviews

All businesses know how vital keeping their accounts in order is, so we’re not only thrilled to welcome Marshes Bookkeepers and Business Accounting as an Independent Oxford Sponsor, but we’re also really looking forward to finding out more about how they can help small independent businesses in our community succeed. Today we catch up with Phil Cockayne, to talk about how he set up Marshes Bookkeeping & Business Accounting, and how they can support indie businesses in Oxfordshire and beyond.



Tell me about Marshes & why you decided to set it up.

I set up Marshes ten years ago to provide Accountancy, Tax and Bookkeeping services for small businesses and individuals. I felt that there was room in the market for a provider that could be a one-stop for all small business financial administration requirements as well as an understanding of issues and challenges which small independent businesses face. Our goal is to help take the administrative stress out of running a business by ensuring the financial records are kept up to date so the client can meet their statutory obligations in good time, and have peace of mind, knowing we will help them to stay compliant with HMRC and, where applicable, Companies House.

What qualifications and expertise led you to specialising in bookkeeping and small business accounts?

 I have worked in the finance industry for over 30 years. I worked for a High Street Bank after leaving school, then went on to obtain a degree at Oxford Brookes University in Business Admin, Management & Economics. Having self-taught as a bookkeeper, I then went on to gain formal qualification with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), as well as becoming a Certified Practising Accountant, Member of the Institute of Directors and Member of the Chartered Management Institute.

How do you keep up to date with changes and innovations in your industry?

 As well as regular digests received from my various professional organisations, I attend the local branch meetings of the ICB and engage in much research, taking part in webinars and discussing topics on social media and relevant forums to keep abreast of the changes, innovations and challenges that affect our clients. Writing presentations and dealing with new challenges that our clients face is always also a good motivator to undertake extra research in the field.

Have you worked with any independent businesses in Oxford?

We work with a number of independent businesses in Oxford, including Rare Form New Media Web Designers in the City Centre and Inky Fingers Comic Book & Coffee Shop on the Cowley Road. Local independent gardeners, handymen and builders also form a considerable part of our client base, as well as a number of Oxfordshire-based professional consultants, charities and co-operatives. We also co-operate pro-actively with other independent firms of accountants in Oxford.

Do you have any tips for people who are just setting up a small business?

My essential tip for anyone setting up a small business would be to engage professional support early on before you start. Don’t leave it until after you’ve set up and started trading to instruct a bookkeeper or accountant as you may find you have missed many essential procedures, compliance issues, and costs from your budget. Professional support from an experienced provider early on will save you money, and certainly stress and time, in the long run. An Accounting Provider can help you plan and identify the tasks you need to consider when setting up a small business as well as the financial aspects. Fail to plan and you plan to fail. I will be talking about one or more issues that small businesses need to consider at Independent Oxford’s Meet Up on 25th April at Turl Street Kitchen.

Lastly, which are your favourite Oxford independents?

 My favourite scene for gifts (and the rare occasions I treat myself!) is the Covered Market. Oxford Aromatics is always a first stop for Christmas and Birthdays and I often recommend the Covered Market Cafés as my first suggestion when meeting with clients or new prospects during the day. Boswells is my favourite place for kitchenware. ..and when I’m not cooking myself, you might well find me in Quod, Gees or the Folly Restaurant.

Oxford AromaticsGeesThe Folly Restaurant
To find out more about Marshes Bookkeepers and Business Accounting, visit or come along to our Independent Oxford Meet Up on 25th April to hear Phil’s talk and have a chat with him in person. You can find out more about this event here.

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