My interview with Ian Benjamin from Taylor & Faith Specialist Recruitment.
Updated: May 8, 2020
I was invited by Ian Benjamin for interview to answers questions about my career, the accounting profession, I Hussain & Co and many more...
How did it start?
Why did you choose accountancy as a career? I always wanted a career in finance and becoming a chartered accountant was the premier business qualification within the finance field. Furthermore, my father is a chartered accountant and this gave me a great insight into the world of accountancy at a young age having worked at his practice during holidays.
How long have you been in accountancy? I have been in the tax and accounting profession for over 13 years now. With regards to my current position I joined the firm upon qualifying as a chartered accountant in 2006 and moved up to partner in 2011. I have great passion in what I do and am still enjoying it.
Have you always had an interest in accountancy? With the influence of my family being accountants, I have always desired to be an accountant. It is such a privileged position in being the GO TO person for the business affairs of our clients.
Tell us about your career
What do you like about being in accountancy? I love helping clients achieve their goals and assist them to improve their business whether it is business advice or tax advice. We have moved towards becoming more than tax advisors and into becoming a vital part of a client’s business team. There is great achievement in seeing a client improve their financial position and business profits. We want our clients to achieve more from their businesses.
What is your biggest achievement to date? I would say we have had great successes in terms of saving clients thousands in tax bills or a tax investigation and have helped clients achieve great results in selling their business. Personally I would say achieving fellowship to the Institute of Chartered Accountants is my greatest achievement to date.
As a senior member of the team are you involved in more strategic areas of the business too? Yes of course these are a vital part of my current function and are essential for any business to continue to grow. I also get opinions from my team as they integrate with the strategy a lot better if they have had a role in deciding the best course of action.
Do people make assumptions about your industry?
Have you ever experienced people making assumptions or stereotypes about your profession? Yes we have been called boring but tax is interesting. No seriously. For most small business owners it is a lonely place running your own business. We always welcome any queries regarding all business matters from our clients. This means we become involved in various aspects of the client’s business which is always interesting. No day is the same.
How does the industry work?
How has your industry evolved? E.g with technology etc There is more emphasis on cloud based software that ensures small business owners have greater quality of information available to make critical decisions. We understand that business owners want more than a set of accounts or tax returns. They want their accountants to become more like part of a team where they can offer their practical and proactive advice on tax and business affairs.
Do you find accountancy a rewarding career? Oh yes. There are always rewards in terms of the work you do for others and how vital you become to their business. Money is always going to be rewarding as accountants in general are well rewarded whether you own your own practice such as me or you work for somebody as an accountant.
What are the working hours like? If they’re long do you get other benefits? Working hours can be long and is similar to the hours shared by business owners. We know and understand that along with you we are also running a business. But the rewards outweigh those working as an employee whether it be money or time.
What qualifications or experience do you need?
Do you have to study to become an accountant? Yes indeed. My journey started at doing Maths, Economics and Accountancy at A Levels, followed by an Economics degree. The next step was to apply for a training contract. This is where you join a firm and study for the qualifications and work at the same time. The on the job training and exams tend to take three years and cover various aspects of tax and business.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering accountancy as a career? Start early and get some experience working within the finance field. I always wanted to become a chartered accountant and the training is demanding and competition is extremely fierce. But with the right desire you can train to become a chartered accountant and become a true finance professional.
What does it take to be successful at accountancy? There are the usual caveats for becoming a finance professional such as intellect, being good with numbers and so on. But to become a good accountant you have to be a good listener and look at the bigger picture. We tend to come across various obstacles and you must be able to look at consequences of your advice in order to be able to effectively advise a client. Communication is critical to this role and accountants must acknowledge this.
What kind of person should consider this role? Someone with a love of numbers and the desire to become a chartered accountant.
Taking things forward…
What makes I Hussain & Co Ltd different from the competition? We work closely with our clients and dig deeper to find out more about the business through our initial review. This helps us to understand the business owner’s objectives and long term plan. We desire to become part of the team and in essence become similar to an outsourced finance director. I say to all my clients your success in my success and thoroughly love it when a client does well.
How do you see your career evolving? Onwards and upwards. I want our firm to become the recommended accountancy firm in the local area. I want to work with forward thinking clients and see myself working in my current position for a long time. I myself want to continue to develop my experience, knowledge and specialism in tax and accountancy, as to improve myself would enable me to become an even better chartered accountant.