What is your job title?
Give an overview of the duties, functions and responsibilities of your job.
With over 30 years’ experience as an accountant, business advisor and tax consultant, I manage a large portfolio of clients at The Accountancy Partnership (TAP), mainly looking after limited company clients. I am also responsible for the accounts team staff training, and support them daily with their workload.
What is a typical working day like for you?
Fast paced. I spend a fair chunk of my day tax advising clients by email and phone, and large portions of time preparing accounts and tax returns. I also spend time training the accounts team, and new staff as they join us.
What particular challenges do you regularly encounter?
Emails! Since joining TAP in May 2017 I’ve answered nearly 16,000 emails, covering just about every subject imaginable and helping clients the length and breadth of the country, and on every continent on Earth!
What are some of the biggest challenges faced by your clients?
The biggest challenges faced by my clients are tax compliance, but we excel at dealing with HMRC and filing all the required returns across personal tax, company tax, VAT, payroll and CIS. This helps take a lot of stress off clients and allows them to focus their energy into growing their business, and making more sales and higher profits.
How are you able to use your skills to solve problems for them?
I have an in depth knowledge of small businesses, how they operate, and the problems small business owners face on a daily basis. These insights help me advise clients on a wide range of subjects, giving them the advantage of my three-plus decades of experience.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I absolutely love helping clients save tax and am able to do this on a weekly basis. I also enjoy helping new start-ups develop their business with my extensive experience.
What do you like most about working for The Accountancy Partnership?
The working environment here is modern and dynamic, and with TAP being one of the fastest growing Accountancy firms in the UK with clients across the globe, no two days are ever the same!
What skills do you find most useful to do your job?
Confidence, blended with the ability to be flexible and adaptable.
Where’s your favourite place to visit on days off?
I have always been adventurous, so enjoy visiting new places.
Tell us about your proudest achievement.
In February 2005 I saw a young boy, orphaned by HIV, dying of starvation on TV and it upset me so much that six days later I was standing in Zululand desperately trying to find and save him. I had only gone to save one child, but found thousands more orphans left to die in an area with one of the highest rates of HIV in Africa.
Twelve weeks later I had sold my home and returned to Zululand to set up Food to School schemes, providing nearly 200,000 school meals with the proceeds.
As the years went by I had to take on a second job to continue feeding the orphans daily, which had risen to over 1,500 children!
I am a deeply private person, so told no one. I worked this job for nearly two years more before, in 2008, people heard my story and my work was suddenly featured as a book, on the TV news, radio stations around the world, and in papers and magazines around the UK.
The African press described me ‘an accidental father to a thousand children’, and I was given the nickname ‘Banana Man’, for feeding children with fruit.
In 2010 the President of South Africa was asking to meet me. A few months later the government took over my Food to School schemes, and started schemes in all the schools of the town where I was working. They’ve been feeding 70,000 hungry children a day ever since.
The schemes expanded further, across Zululand, feeding some 2 million malnourished children every day.
Today, 14 years later, the schemes have spread across most of South Africa, and feed some 9 million children a day!
Since the government took over the Food to School schemes in 2010 I have helped build houses for orphans, helped HIV diagnosed mothers with life-saving drugs and emergency food parcels, put hundreds of impoverished children back into school with school uniforms and fees, helped countless families with emergency money, helped kids access lifesaving operations, and helped put youths through university to help them gain a vocation and escape poverty.
It was amazing to have helped influence government policy by example, but it was very hard at times too. During my travels I’ve had guns held in my face, been surrounded by violent gangs, been driven off the road a couple of times, nearly walked over a nest of snakes, been chased by a rhino through the bush, and got lost in valley in 40-degree sun!
How would your colleagues describe you?
What are you reading/binge watching at the moment?
Just started watching The Blue Book Project on Sky, and waiting for series eight of Game of Thrones to come out soon.
Who do you admire, and why?
My martial arts Master. I am a Goyararu senior martial arts instructor, and through their teaching am a black belt in Karate, Kung-Fu, Tai Chi, Muka Bazi (Indian boxing), and Gatika (weapons including the Bo staff, one stick, two stick, and Samurai Sword). It was their teachings in Sena Dasi which helped me in my work in Africa.
What question would you really like to answer, and what’s the answer?!
Who are we? Whoever we want to be!