Our staff spotlight this month is Chris Harrison! Chris explains his role as an accountant here at The Accountancy Partnership.
What is your job title?
I’m a Semi-Senior Accountant here at TAP.
Give an overview of the duties, functions, and responsibilities of your job.
I have my own client portfolio that includes limited companies, partnerships, and sole traders. I prepare accounts, tax returns, and quarterly VAT returns if required.
At TAP we don’t use account managers, so as their accountant I am the client’s first port of call should they have any queries. I like to respond to these in a timely manner, as and when they arise.
I also regularly have initial consultation calls with clients, and it’s a great opportunity for me to learn more about them and their business.
What is a typical working day like for you?
No day is ever the same, apart from a cup of coffee to start when I get in the office! I’ll log on and review my overnight emails and check what calls I have scheduled for the day.
I usually then start working on a set of accounts or tax/VAT return. Throughout the day I respond to further client queries and peer review accounts for colleagues.
Working by the River Mersey it is nice to get out at lunch and get the steps in! If the Weather is nice!
What particular challenges do you regularly encounter?
Working with a client portfolio there are multiple deadlines, be that for accounts or VAT returns, that need to be met to avoid penalties. At the same time, it is key that I am meeting clients’ expectations of our services. I have to be extremely organised, and plan my day to ensure I always meet both objectives.
What are some of the biggest challenges faced by your clients?
When clients are setting up their businesses it can be easy for them to concentrate on the day-to-day operations, and not pay attention to their accounts.
If left too long this can become overwhelming as deadlines creep ever closer. This can create stress and confusion for clients.
I look to assist clients in every step of the process, assuring any questions are answered straight away, and that we understand how we are going to proceed. I always say to clients that no query is ever too small.
How are you able to use your skills to solve problems for them?
I have worked in accounts for 5 years and have recently qualified as an AAT Accountant. I draw on both my knowledge and practical experience to resolve clients’ problems.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Working with a wide range of clients, from all around the world. It is really interesting, learning about the clients and their businesses. It’s great when a client contacts me when they are unsure of something, and I am able to not only resolve their queries but also help them understand why we are doing this.
What do you like most about working for The Accountancy Partnership?
My colleagues! I have been at TAP just over 8 months and I found everyone so welcoming from day one! I know that if I need it, the support is there for me. Everyone is so approachable.
We’re well looked after, too. We’re treated to smoothies and lunches twice a week, and they are amazing! The recent Farmegeddon trip was an experience, too. Some of the reactions were priceless…Mike G and Liam C being the personal highlights!
What skills do you find most useful to do your job?
Communication and empathy. Each client works differently, so understanding what works best for them is key. Clients look to us for advice and guidance, so it’s important they fully understand the process. It also ensures we build a working relationship with the client, because it helps them.
Where’s your favourite place to visit on days off?
I have a young daughter, a nephew, and a niece all a similar age, so it is lovely getting together wherever that may be for a family day.
Throughout lockdown, Hoylake became the place we walked, and we have continued now things have eased. We have conveniently found a park located opposite a place that does the best ice cream!
If I had to say a specific place, I would say Chester Zoo. We were given a yearly pass as a present, so it is lovely to spend time there seeing the animals.
Tell us about your proudest achievement.
Currently I am partaking in Movember, and I’m pretty proud of the results, I may even keep it! I am proud to have recently gained my MAAT qualifications, it feels an achievement as I continue with my studies.
My overall proudest achievement would be my daughter Emilia. The lack of sleep to start with has been well worth it, as she’s really becoming a character now!
How would your colleagues describe you?
If I maybe rephrase this to ‘how would you hope your colleagues describe you?’, I would like to think I am considered a team player. I treat people how I would like to be treated, and if I can help, I will. I hope that comes across in the office.
What are you reading/binge watching at the moment?
When I’m not reading the quarterly Accounting Technician magazine or looking at TAP’s guides and tutorials, I have a bit of time to watch TV…!
I am just finishing Narcos Mexico on Netflix, which I’ve been watching in Spanish with the subtitles on. I can pick up the odd word! I think the next on my list is Tiger King 2, the first series was a lockdown favourite!
Who do you admire, and why?
My wife. She is super supportive and really is the pillar of our family!
Being a big football fan, I do admire Jordan Henderson, the Captain of Liverpool Football Club. He comes across as the ultimate professional, dedicated to his sport. During the COVID crisis he was highly influential in bringing players together to donate funds to Charity.
What question would you really like to answer, and what’s the answer?!
I wish I could ask all sorts! BUT, when it comes to scones, is it cream then jam – or jam then cream? For me, it has to be cream then jam!