Director and Head of Tax Advisory Services
Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), Fellowship Member of the Association of Chartered Accountants (FCCA), Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA), 20 metre swimming.
Before I was an accountant (mini CV)
Coming as no surprise to anyone, before I was an accountant I was a trainee accountant! I left school at 16 and got a job as a trainee. During this time, I completed my AAT exams and got a great insight into the world of accountancy.
From then I progressed to Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA), which was the qualification my employer supported at the time. By the time I qualified ACCA, I was a mixed tax and accounts senior / manager.
I have always been very ambitious so I wanted to work for a larger company, so I could work with bigger clients and climb the ladder. I was recruited by Price Waterhouse as it was then, now PwC, which was incredible, I couldn’t believe I was working for one of the Big Four! I studied my CTA exams while I was there and was promoted to corporate tax manager.
Once again, I started looking for a new challenge so 15 years ago, I joined Duncan & Toplis to help create the property tax offering for the firm, which I still head up now. I also used my corporate skills on many large corporate transactions for clients across the practice.
In 2010, I was promoted to partner and was later asked to head up tax advisory services thanks to my extensive experience in the area. I’ve recently joined the management board of the company to directly contribute to the operational and strategic direction as we head towards the huge milestone of 100 years in business in 2025. It’s an exciting time to be at Duncan & Toplis and I’m glad I made the move when I did.
Business or Personal tax or both
I have particular expertise in corporate and property taxes, restructuring and capital allowances. I’m head of the company’s Tax Advisory Services and sector head for Property and Construction. I also chair our Corporate and Business Tax and Property groups and represent Duncan & Toplis on international tax matters as part of the Kreston network (global network of independent accounting firms).
Advice to a client seeking an accountant
Be sure to choose an accountant who takes a strategic view and helps you achieve your business and personal goals. Always remember that cheap advice often ends up being expensive! In the complex world we live in, it’s also important to be looked after by a quality company with the required in house specialists and with international links if needed.
Top tax tip
Plan with plenty of time in advance and take advice, this way things can be planned tax efficiently and you can ensure you qualify for the tax reliefs the government provide.
The tax I would abolish and why
Inheritance tax. People have often worked their whole lives to generate their wealth and paid substantial tax along the way only to be taxed again on their estate. Losing a loved one is one of the toughest times for any family, so to have the government take a generous share of that person’s property at that time simply isn’t fair.
My favourite tax
Can there be such a thing?! Okay then, if I had to choose it would be Corporate tax, this is because it’s one of the lowest tax rates at 17% which makes the UK very competitive to encourage business activity and investment.
How do you relax
I enjoy spending time with my family and going on holiday with them. My favourite destination for relaxation is St Brelades in Jersey. When I’m at home, I can be found reading a book (my favourite is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig) and watching films. Unsurprisingly based on my book choice, I love to get out on my motorbike whenever the weather allows!
Further reading: Financial Planner of the Month: Mike Greely