Telling the truth about SME life today

Name: Chris Bayne

Age: 40

Company: Access UK, which provides business and accounting software to mid-market organisations.

Turnover: £28.4m a 15 per cent growth on the previous year. We ve enjoyed a consistent rise in revenues over the years.

First job: I came straight out of university and started up a software business with three university friends, which Access UK bought in 2008. We all stayed with the company and have played an integral role in its expansion. It’s great to still be working together; we re all as passionate about the business and technology as ever. 

Dream job: Sorry but there is no other job for me except this one. Okay… maybe heading up Apple! What an amazing experience that would be. Steve Jobs would be an incredibly hard act to follow though; very talented man with great vision. 

Car: A BMW 640i convertible. It’s a great driving experience, you can’t beat it. 

Economy, business or first class: I enjoy flying business class as getting there is part of the holiday experience; business air travel with Access though is not part of my current role.

Most extravagant purchase: This has to be my car. It was a totally emotional purchase as opposed to a spreadsheet exercise but one I certainly have no regrets about! 

Most played song on iPod: “Sowing Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears. It’s an absolute classic from a great band. 

Best business book: Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson; his drive, ambition and quest to succeed shows true entrepreneurial spirit which you’ve got to admire. The book’s a really compelling read.

Worst business moment: Making some people redundant during the credit crunch; this was the worst feeling ever and one that I would hate to repeat. 

Proudest business moment: Buying Access UK as part of a management buyout in 2011; it was a great feeling. The whole thing was instigated by the founder of the business, who asked me to become CEO; it was such a privilege to be asked to build on his legacy.

Business mentor: Alistair O?Reilly, previous MD and founder of Access UK; he’s a man of great integrity and business insight whom I’ve learnt a lot from over the years.

Next big thing: A number of interesting points came out of a report we commissioned, The Future of Technology, to mark our 20th anniversary. For one, the smartphone will overtake the PC as the most common device to access the internet in the next year or so. 


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