I’m a Director at RG and work between the firm’s Personal Tax and Business Tax service lines.
I’m fortunate to work with a fantastic team and support them in delivering a comprehensive tax compliance and tax advisory service to our clients, ensuring clients not only meet their annual filing obligations but do so in a tax-efficient way.
Tell me about your career to date…
I managed to secure a position with Ernst & Young (EY as they now style themselves) on the back of one, if memory serves, very brief interview.
On joining EY I was recruited into their Personal Tax Centre, then a burgeoning national centre of excellence for personal tax compliance. I was privileged to be part of this project almost from inception, and lucky enough to work with, be trained by, and learn from, a fantastic group of people who really laid the foundation of my career.
I spent about seven years with EY, building specialisms with professional partnerships both at a partnership and partner level. This stood me in good stead when I moved to something of a quasi-in-house role, providing tax support to EY and its partners in a compliance and advisory role, through technically challenging times involving the sale of the firm’s financial management arm and management consulting business.
I then moved on to work with some of EY’s wealthiest clients, HNWIs with significant and varied personal and business interests including a number of large landed estates and a number of very successful entrepreneurs.
In 2005 I decided to leave EY to seek out a role with a regional independent firm, primarily driven by the wish to build closer relationships with clients I would see and have contact with regularly. It was suggested that I have a conversation with RG and it quickly became apparent that the firm had a varied and very interesting client base and an evolving culture that was attractive to me. 18 years later I’m still lucky enough to be working with good colleagues, close friends and interesting clients.
What does your current role involve?
Primarily, my role is to provide clear advice to help our clients make strategically important decisions about their personal and business affairs. That advice doesn’t solely revolve around tax, and tax efficiency doesn’t always mean lowest tax cost. Indeed, our advice will focus on helping our clients make commercially sensible decisions without resorting to aggressive tax planning, but instead making creative use of statutory reliefs and exemptions to reduce tax leakage.
Possibly the most important aspect in terms of my client-facing role is to be a good listener, to be able to understand a client’s circumstances and goals, and to identify the questions they need to have answered rather than to simply answer the questions being asked. This is a skill developed with experience and over time.
My client facing role is extremely varied and covers most mainline areas of taxation. It is focused on transactional or advisory projects and particularly those involving business sales, professional and family partnerships, agricultural and rural businesses, landed estates, property transactions, tax-motivated emigration, investments and tax-efficient investment opportunities, employment status issues; and the list goes on.
In addition to my client facing role, there are other important aspects to what I do. As a firm, we’re still evolving and growing, and the Director group takes a lead in working with the Partners to identify and develop cultural shifts that will help us achieve our long-term goals and reinforce to our colleagues their value in the firm and the opportunities available to them. Also, supporting our core value of collaboration, I provide tax technical support to my colleagues across the wider firm, and often act as a sounding board to my professional network outside the firm. It is a great honour to be recognised by such an esteemed group of individuals.
What makes RG different?
Our willingness and ability to create meaningful long-term relationships.
Internally, great friendships exist throughout the firm between colleagues who have worked with each other for many years.
Externally, in addition to creating strong client relationships, we pride ourselves on building mutually beneficial relationships with other professional advisers which aids our ability to serve our clients and to make sure they have the best support from the best network whenever required.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I’m a fan of Formula 1, a bit of a foodie (cooking and eating) and love spending time in the Lake District (preferably camping) with my family.
In my youth I had very narrow taste in music but latterly I’m making the most of Spotify and I’m very much enjoying a variety of musical genres, initially influenced by my daughter’s regular set lists (she’s a guitarist and singer, and I’m her ‘roadie’ so I go to most if not all of her gigs), but now I’m relying on Spotify’s algorithms for new playlists.
I also enjoy some late-night guilty pleasure TV including Aussie Gold Hunters/Aussie Opal Hunters, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, with all episodes watched more than once… having had it recommended to me on the back of the lead character, Larry David, apparently being reminiscent of me!
And finally, leave us with one interesting fact about yourself…
I’m incredibly dull (!), but in recent weeks I’ve been to several music events, a basketball game, and even an evening painting class… but in terms of an interesting fact, well, I can make a pretty good dripping tap sound with my mouth!