University: Durham University
Degree: Natural Sciences
I graduated with a Natural Sciences degree in 2006 and started to look for a career path with the opportunity for further training.
I had previously been advised that the training provided by a mid- tier accountancy firm was often the strongest, being small enough to offer a supportive environment, whilst large enough to provide interesting work and well-rounded training.
I joined the Saffery Champness Peterborough office in 2006 and was suitably impressed. Not only has the firm supported me through my ACA and CTA qualifications, but I also took a secondment to the central support team in London to learn more about the operation of the firm and develop my skills further.
Life at Saffery Champness
In my time at Saffery Champness my role has changed considerably and last year I was promoted to Senior Manager.
Every day in this role is different and this is reflected both in the varied business interests of our clients and through frequent changes in tax laws and the circumstances of our client’s lives.
On average I spend three days of the week in the office, responding to client queries, managing and training the team and undertaking reviews. The rest of my time is spent at client meetings or presenting at and attending various marketing and training events.
A focus on Landed Estates
The portfolio I manage comprises landed estates clients and a range of farming operations with associated rural businesses. Prior to joining the firm I didn’t really know what a landed estate was, despite having been surrounded by them for most my life! A typical Landed Estate might consist of farmland, rental properties, renewable energy projects, a large family house (often open to the public), a shoot and various development projects and importantly the family that own it.
I am responsible for looking after the annual compliance work and advising on any ad hoc queries and projects. This might involve producing budgets and cashflows for the bank, helping with HMRC enquiries, setting up software systems, tax advice on new projects and implementing the inheritance tax planning agreed with the client. Some of this will be reactive to changes in the client’s circumstances or tax laws, but I also really enjoy the creative aspects of spotting opportunities that changes result in.
As one of the market leaders in landed estates, Saffery Champness has provided me with lots of interesting opportunities and knowledge sharing across the offices is encouraged. As it is a true specialism I feel that we can really bring value to our clients.
Landed estates tend to require help and interaction throughout the year and I enjoy having the opportunity to build long-term relationships with our clients, as opposed to just getting involved at the end of the year.
Succession is one of the most interesting areas of my work. This involves helping to plan the transfer of estates from one generation to the next. In doing this, we have to get fully involved in the family and can make a real difference.
A career in accountancy
I really like the people I work with and this keeps me interested and enthusiastic about my role. I enjoy the variety and I feel like I can actually make a real difference to the lives of the clients I work for by taking away a lot of the things that they worry about such as wills and inheritance tax planning.
My main motivator is to keep improving and learning more and there is no end to this. The firm has always encouraged and supported me throughout and I can look back at any day and name five new things I learnt. This can be addictive!
I also really enjoy working in the Peterborough team. Being part of a smaller regional office means that you really feel you are known and valued whilst having the support of the wider firm behind you.
One of the things I enjoy most is the fact that every day brings a new challenge. The biggest challenge can be saying no to all the offers of work and new experiences you receive. The variety can be a double edged sword as I work for range of partners across many offices, which is great as a learning experience, but can also mean they may not be aware of what else you might have to complete.
The job has enabled me to do lots of things I didn’t think I would do. Completing my Chartered tax exams whilst having just been promoted to manager was quite an achievement.
I also get a lot of reward from mentoring the trainees that come through the system and trying to pass on my own experiences, hopefully making their path upwards as smooth and enjoyable as possible.