What is your role within RG?
I am a Director within the Audit and Assurance service line.
Tell me about your career to date…
I haven’t had quite as varied a career to date as some of my colleagues, and considering I was not really sure of what I wanted to do once I left school it all appears very straightforward on paper.
I enjoyed maths at school so enrolled for an accounting degree at Newcastle University and thereafter I joined RG as a graduate trainee.
I have been here for over 20 years/ever since, and during that time have progressed not only professionally but also physically as I have probably had at some point a desk in most of the rooms in our Newcastle office!
What does your current role involve?
My current role involves working closely with and supporting a portfolio of clients, the majority of whom are owner managed businesses, in the delivery of our technical services, including audit, accountancy and other ad hoc assurance assignments.
I work closely with some of our larger businesses and more entrepreneurial clients, which means I am able to get involved in a lot of interesting (and unusual) projects, as well as specialising in the provision of services to FCA regulated businesses and transactional support services, including financial due diligence.
What makes RG different?
We really are a people business.
Our focus is on the client and building long term, trusted relationships firmly underpinned with relevant, commercial and technically accurate advice.
This collaborative and commercial approach extends to our team, where there is a sharp focus on maintaining responsive, attentive and technically proficient professional staff.
We are not only genuinely interested in our clients, but have the knowledge and experience to be able to come up with clear and creative tailored solutions for them.
My 3 most notable achievements to date would be….
I achieved a first class honours degree, and though I only had about half a percentage point to spare I can technically say I was “top” of my class as the results were listed alphabetically.
I won a prize for the highest mark in the region on a tax exam whilst qualifying as a chartered accountant (ACA). Given that I metaphorically burnt my text books when I came out of my last exam and promised myself I would never do another one, I am in awe of/have sympathies for those of my colleagues who have also gone on to study for a chartered tax adviser (CTA) qualification too.
I was player/manager for a Sunday morning football team for 5 years. While at times challenging/akin to herding cats, out of it I made some lifelong friendships. Though we certainly weren’t the best team, one year we had a giant killing run and made it to a cup final where we were watched by over 400 paying spectators. Unfortunately the result did not go our way, but we certainly drowned our sorrows in style afterwards!
Tell us about your day so far….
It is a cliché but no two days are the same.
7.00 – When I wake up is determined by my son Euan as I do his breakfast so it can be anywhere between 6.00 and (if I am lucky) 7.30.
8.00 – It is my turn to drop Euan off at nursery, which is only 5 minutes from where we live in Whickham.
8.30 – 9.30 – I sit down in my “virtual” office which is set up in our dining room, and deal with ongoing tasks and emails which have come in since yesterday evening. We recently bought our house, and it was unoccupied for 2 years prior to that so the wallpaper and carpet provide an “interesting” background on my Teams/Zoom calls.
9.30 – 10.30 – I catch up with our VAT consultant with regard to a query I have received from a client who is looking to purchase a commercial property.
10.30 – 12.30 – I and a fellow Director have a Teams call to go through page by page a draft Financial Due Diligence Report which is to be issued that evening. We also ensure we have passed all of our relevant findings to our colleagues in Corporate Finance and Business Tax who are also involved in the transaction.
12.30 – 13.30 – I attend a meeting with my fellow Directors which we do once a month. It’s really useful to not only hear what is happening, both internally and externally, with the other service lines but also to share knowledge and experiences.
13.30 – 14.30 – A Zoom call with the Director of an FCA regulated IFA client to run through our finalisation queries with regard to the recent CASS Audit.
14.30 – 17.00 – I review the cloud based audit files for a London based IT group ahead of a call with the FD. Usually we would attend on site for a week, but this year we have had to think outside the box/use technology to allow us to complete our work remotely.
17.00 – 18.00 – Prepare a response to some queries arising around a set of Completion Accounts we are working on.
18.00 – 19.00 – Bath and bedtime for Euan.
19.00 – 20.00 – Final run through of ongoing tasks and emails, before winding down for the evening.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
My answer to this question is a bit different to what it would have been a couple of years ago, and not only because of the pandemic but also because Euan is now 18 months old.
I really enjoy family time, especially exploring together the fantastic countryside we have on our doorstep, and if it means that we avoid a trip to soft play all the better!
I snowboard and can confidently say that I am yet to find a slope/mountain I have not been able to get down, though not necessarily always standing up or pointing in the right direction.
We had an amazing time traveling around New Zealand in a motorhome for 3 weeks on honeymoon and I definitely aim to make a return visit someday.
And finally, leave us with one interesting fact about yourself…
Interesting and accountant aren’t words normally associated with each other so it is clearly all relative, but in my younger days I played the euphonium (a small tuba) and passed the Grade 4 exam.
Actually that could have been one of my 3 most notable achievements as the exam included a singing section.