Kirsty Heywood-MacDonald is someone who truly believes that small businesses can make a difference. 

And, three years after she set it up as a one-woman operation, Heywood-MacDonald Accountants is proving that she is right. 

The company is already making a name for itself in Cumbria and beyond, growing to employ a team of four, being named as one of the Top 100 firms in Britain by Small Business Saturday and even launching a sideline in fashion. 

Kirsty previously worked in operations and senior management for retail and hospitality businesses including Roadchef and Booths, but retrained as an accountant when back problems forced her to look for a desk job.

Heywood-MacDonald, which works with clients from sole traders up to multi-million-pound companies, initially had an office on Kendal’s Mintsfeet Estate but has now moved entirely to remote working.

“We were looking at our sustainability and we thought we can reduce our carbon footprint quite a lot if we go virtual,” said Kirsty. “That started a whole ball rolling which has snowballed around sustainability.”

The business has reduced the number of onsite visits it makes, as well as going completely paperless and encouraging its clients to do the same.

“Because we’ve not got a physical office, we’ve ploughed those resources into staff wellbeing and sustainability,” said Kirsty. “We do a lot of charity work as well and we’ve been able to do that because we don’t have the overheads of an office.”

The firm puts a particular focus on diversity and disability and has selected south Cumbria’s Bendrigg Trust, which organises activities and courses for people with disabilities, as its charity of the year for 2023.

Heywood’s team get four paid days to go and work with the charity during the year, while Kirsty has also joined its board as a trustee.

The company is also donating money to pay for the refurbishment of the charity’s music garden.

“I love what they do and I think it’s just an amazing place. It’s really easy to make those little changes and it makes such a big difference,” said Kirsty.

“We’re trying to show that as small as we are, if we can do it, everyone can do it.”

As well as providing accountancy services, the firm has a sideline in producing clothing with accountancy themed jokes and phrases.