Ian Jarvis is the director of managed services at Clive Owen LLP, he talks to BQ about his role, his career so far, and his plans for the future.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I oversee a team who deliver management accounts, bookkeeping and regular advisory services. I also consult on accounting systems and have assisted many clients in converting to the cloud.
What is it the company does?
We are a regional firm of chartered accountants with offices in Durham, Darlington and York. We have a number of specialisms like grant funding and corporate finance as well as the more traditional accountancy services. Unlike most other firms we also have a technology service division which I also work closely with.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started my life in IT before swapping for the far more glamourous world of accountancy! Now those two worlds have collided and I spend a lot of time talking to SME businesses about accounting systems.
I trained with a mid-tier firm advising on everything from start-ups to national charities before moving into audit and working with businesses at one of the big four.
With audit thresholds continuing to rise I spotted an opportunity in outsourcing and found it so much more rewarding as clients wanted and relied upon my advice. Clive Owen shared my passion for giving clients useful and meaningful information so here I am. I created Clive Owen Managed Services nearly two years ago for the firm and it continues to grow rapidly, which is great.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Being firm, fair, and having the ability to make long term decisions.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The sheer pace of the advance in technology is staggering, at the same time this is helping deliver greater and greater efficiency.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I love my road bike, I wish I was out on it every day. I also have a 3 year old daughter who makes me laugh more than anything else on the planet.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pilot, so when I went to university I became a member of the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron and was fortunate enough to get some flying hours in. Now I’m a chartered accountant, not quite what I intended but it keeps me entertained.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I’m not a big fan of people being late without explanation, especially when they then turn up holding a takeaway coffee! Other than that I’m pretty flexible and that’s the way myself and my staff like it.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Already we have large volumes of clients moving into the cloud using systems like Xero, QuickBooks Online and Sage Drive. This allows us to work much more collaboratively with clients and offer proactive advisory services as opposed to compliance. I am certain that this will continue and gather pace in the coming years. It still amazes me how many accountants have not talked to their clients about the cloud and about making tax digital.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
I was once told that you can choose what irritates you and what motivates you. It’s tricky to put into practice but does focus the mind. Whenever I come up against a problem I try and turn it into an opportunity to improve.