Atter graduating in information systems from the University of Leeds, Ross qualified as a chartered accountant, going on to become a Manager within the Business Group. He was made a partner in 2008.
Why did you choose a career in chartered accountancy?
I studied Information Systems at the University of Leeds and always thought that this would lead to a career within the IT industry. Despite gaining a graduate place at a well-known IT company, I discussed a career in chartered accountancy with my family and began considering this as option. Following an ‘Insight into Accountancy’ day with Deloitte, I really felt that my interest in this area, combined with the skills learnt in my degree, made chartered accountancy the right career choice for me, and I applied to Blick Rothenberg LLP.
I have always been a driven and career focused individual and Blick Rothenberg LLP has given me the space and ability to develop, gaining more responsibility over the years. 1 July 2008 was not only a pivotal point in my career when I became a partner; that same week I became a father for the first time and also celebrated my 30th birthday!
I have been able to use my skills and interest in IT by playing an active role in developing the IT systems within the Business Group. Not only this, but my client portfolio has a focus on technology and I have assisted with the setup of Blick Rothenberg’s Tech City office at London’s silicon roundabout – I have even started tweeting!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy the variety of clients I work with, from UK subsidiaries of listed companies to UK owner managed businesses to small start-ups. I would say that 50% of my clients are based internationally, which means that my working day could be at any point within a 24 hour period, which I find really interesting. That said, I tend not to work through the night!
What’s great about working at a mid-sized firm like Blick Rothenberg LLP is that there are 22 other partners, each with their own specialisms, and this support network is really beneficial when providing your clients with the best possible advice.
During my time at Blick Rothenberg LLP my role has developed from being compliance focused to becoming a business adviser with a commercial focus. Understanding the changing business environment that my clients operate in is absolutely critical. Additionally, I have built relationships with my clients in which I am a trusted business adviser and, in many cases, a good friend!
Whilst a manager I became a trustee of a new secondary school in my spare time and took on the role of financial director for the school. It has been really great to use my skills as a chartered accountant for this cause. For me personally, working for a socially responsible firm is really important and Blick Rothenberg LLP has a proud history of involvement with charitable organisations. I am now a trustee of a children’s charity which I really enjoy and find very rewarding; Blick Rothenberg LLP are very supportive of this for which I am extremely grateful.
What makes a good accountant?
Having a true understanding of my clients, their business and the people that operate within their business, is crucial as this helps to provide the best possible client service, tailored to their bespoke requirements.
As a partner I am part of a management team at Blick Rothenberg LLP and therefore have a responsibility to appraise and mentor staff. I think what really helps me to be successful in my role as a mentor is that I have also been a trainee, senior and manager at the firm and truly understand the challenges faced at each stage of the evolving career of a chartered accountant. As a result I can help employees to make the decisions that are the best for them.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into accountancy?
The most important piece of advice I can give is make sure you learn something every day from the moment you start your career. Make sure you ask questions and absorb as much information as you can – ask managers and partners if you can attend meetings with them, it’s a great way to learn.
Blick Rothenberg LLP provides trainees with exposure to a varied client portfolio and responsibility early on; my advice would be to take these opportunities in order to get the best experience possible.