Describe your role in no more than 100 words:
As managing partner my role is to provide the firm with a direction for the future and to ensure that everyone works together to achieve the overall aims of the business. We’re a partnership, so different parts of the business are led by different people meaning it’s essential we all work collaboratively and, perhaps most importantly, as a team. In addition I still have my ‘old job’, providing clients with tax advice and helping them to drive their businesses forward, which is what gets me out of bed every morning.
What is it the partnership does?
Tait Walker provides audit, accounting, wealth management, specialist tax and financial advisory services to businesses and individuals across the North East and indeed the wider North of the UK.
What do I believe makes a great leader?
I feel I know when to listen, when to act and how to learn from my mistakes.
What has been the greatest challenge in your current role?
There has been a few but that’s what makes you stronger as a leader and as a business. I suppose you could class getting 13 strong-willed, highly motivated partners to let you have some air time as a challenge at times!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I like to think I don’t get stressed but I suspect that’s what people who can’t alleviate it tend to say! The dog tends to get much longer walks when I feel a bit snowed under.
When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had two dream jobs. The first was a dumper truck driver but that soon progressed to being an ice-cream man. What could be better than driving a van covered in stickers which plays music and is full of ice-cream? It brings out the inner child in me!
Any pet hates in the workplace?
People who think that grammar no longer matters. It’s a big bugbear of mine.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We want to set a benchmark for other accountancy practices in the region, where our competitors are copying what we do as a business. We are on our way to achieving this – we have a talented team of people and our company ethos continues to be a part of everything we do as a business, which is putting the client first every time. If we continue to build on these principles over the next five years, we’ll be in an incredibly good place.
What advice would you give an aspiring business leader?
Work hard, recruit well and do what you are good at, not what others say you should do! Also, make sure you have someone outside of the business that you can talk to. This should, preferably, be someone with skills that differ to your own and who doesn’t have any personal vested interest in the business.
Where did you start your career?
At Ernst & Whinney on Grey Street, Newcastle, back in 1987.
Career so far:
Whilst I was in my first professional career role at Ernst and Whinney, the Firm merged with Arthur Young in 1990 to become Ernst & Young. I trained in the accounting department before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1990. I then moved into the tax department in 1991 and qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor two years later. I remained with Ernst & Young’s tax department until 2001, when I left to join Tait Walker as a tax partner working out of the firms Newcastle and Stockton offices – I’ve never looked back since. I became managing partner in 2013.