Did you always envisage a career in the industry?
I came to the accountancy practice of Read, Milburn & Co. straight from school at the age of 16 with an aptitude for maths but with little knowledge of what an Accountant’s role would be 50 years later I do not regret that move.
What is your favourite aspect of the job?
In General Practice, it is the variety of work and the variety of interaction with so many different clients in various walks of life and business.
What has been your career defining moment?
I guess it was the opportunity given by my then boss, Tom Read, when I qualified as a Chartered Accountant at the early age of 21, to be taken into a partnership with him at a time when he was looking to step back a little from his work load as he approached later life.
How do you measure success?
In a word “contentment”, I enjoy my work and have many contented clients – I once, in an article for a magazine, suggested my role for my clients was that of a “sex therapist” I suggested that I improved their sex lives by taking on much of their necessary business compliance work and thus reducing stress levels and also giving them more time which they could devote to their families rather than spending late nights writing up their books. Reduction in stress and extra time essentials for good relationships!
What have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started?
Accountancy is now highly computerised and there is a greater expectation from government of working online with a fairly harsh penalty regime for those who fail to comply.
How has your skillset developed accordingly?
I no longer use an abacus It is essential to engage in life-long learning and I very much see the value in keeping up to date with the latest legislation changes.
Are you a risk taker by nature or more conservative?
Accountants are in general conservative by nature but calculated risks are an essential part of business.
To what would you attribute your success?
At an early date we invested heavily in computerised systems which has stood us in a good position to serve and support our client base.
What’s your biggest weakness and how have you managed this?
Sometimes it has been taking on extra work when I already had a heavy schedule but I have never been shy of working a little harder or longer and ensuring the work was completed on time.
How do you remain motivated?
I enjoy working with our team in the Practice and with our clients and my skill set allows me to be involved with a lot of charity work which gives me a lot of satisfaction in helping others in the community.
Would you prefer to be liked or respected?
As a professional, it has been important to maintain a reputation. Some times in business you need to make unpopular decisions to maintain respect.
Not yet for a while, I still get a kick out of going to work and making things happen.