60 Seconds With: Richard Baker, Audit & Advisory Partner at Crowe UK

Richard Baker is an Audit Partner at national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, Crowe. Richard joined the firm as a Trainee at the Walsall office in 1997, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Richard is now a Partner based in the Thames Valley office, managing a portfolio of clients including SMEs, international businesses and listed companies across a variety of sectors and on local, national and international levels. Richard speaks with Jordanne Napier, Consultant at Pro-Finance, about working at Crowe UK, the first thing he notices in an interview, and offers advice for people looking to progress their career in audit.

Tell us about yourself, how your career started and what you do at Crowe.

I found that I enjoyed accounting at sixth-form college and, after accepting that I wouldn’t become a pilot or astronaut, I joined a small firm in the West Midlands as a Trainee Auditor. I studied for the AAT qualification and learnt how to prepare accounts from records of varying quality. I then joined Crowe’s Walsall office (now in Oldbury), which was experiencing significant growth. 22 years or so later, I find myself based in Reading at Crowe’s Thames Valley office, at which I head up the Audit team.

How do Crowe differentiate themselves in the market?

At Crowe, we pride ourselves on helping our clients make smart decisions that create lasting value. We do this by offering clients a range of tailored services which are delivered by our multi-disciplinary teams. Our deep sector knowledge and experience means we ensure clients are provided with the right expertise to meet their needs. Close working relationships really are at the heart of our effective service deliveries.

How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone applying to be part of the team?

We have a substantial team made up of talented individuals who possess an extensive range of experience, knowledge and expertise. This enables us to provide clients with a wide service offering and the right person for the job.

In a candidate, we look for someone who is willing to learn and work collaboratively with colleagues as part of a team. They must always be prepared to do the right thing.

How would your team describe you?

You should probably ask them! I would probably say helpful and conscientious.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would say to relax more and take time to recharge.

When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you?

Their greeting – is it warm, friendly and professional? That tells me the first impression they will give to our clients.

What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of finance professionals face?

Adapting to rapid technological developments. Change has been significant over my career, making remote working possible, but I feel we are on the cusp of something even more significant.

How do you think the role of Director/Partner has changed over the years?

Some of my clients think I spend a lot of time on the golf course – if they saw me play I doubt they would continue to think that! I think the role has become more technical over time, with increased regulation, but the fundamentals are still there – you need to be able to build internal and external relationships. Clear communication is also more important than ever.

Any final words of advice for people looking to progress their career?

Focus on where you want to get to, but be patient at the same time – you will probably be working for 50 years!

Thanks for your time, and as a little treat for all of our readers – do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us?

I have a really variable taste in music, which some may find surprising! I listen to virtually anything, from classical to rap.

For more information on this article, please contact Jordanne Napier on 020 7269 6353 or jordanne.napier@pro-finance.co.uk.

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