Robert Marchant is a VAT Partner at Crowe‘s London office, and leads the firms VAT work with corporate businesses and professional partnerships. He plays a leading role within Crowe’s global indirect tax network, is a member of their European indirect tax committee, and has worked with clients across a wide range of industries from new start-ups all the way through to FTSE100 businesses. Robert speaks with Ashleigh, Senior Consultant at Pro-Tax about working at Crowe, the secrets to good leadership, and how to approach the first day of a new job.
What’s your favourite thing about your firm?
Crowe is on an exciting journey, both in the UK and internationally. The accountancy and tax services markets are going through a period of change where ‘challenger firms’ to the Big Four are emerging, and Crowe is in this group. In the UK, we have invested in new talent over recent years and I have the pleasure of working with a number of people that are excellent at what they do. On a global scale, our recent rebranding has brought the network closer together and this brings benefits to our external facing activities.
What makes Crowe unique?
The size of our firm means we are large enough to have wide-ranging technical expertise and geographic reach, but we are not too large that we lose the personal touch. Ultimately, I work in a people business, so I want to have a role that allows me to spend time with my clients and colleagues.
What pet peeve do you have when interviewing?
When candidates do not research the firm and/or the role. There is so much information available on the internet, it is easy for candidates to spend at least 15 minutes before an interview researching recent developments or articles connected with the role.
What advice would you give to someone in day 1 of their new job?
To engage ‘sponge mode’. Day 1, week 1 and even month 1 are all about soaking up as much information as possible about your new colleagues, new firm, new systems, new ways of working etc. From my perspective, I want to see that a new starter is engaged and interested (dare I say excited) about their new position, and being inquisitive is a good way of demonstrating this enthusiasm.
What are the secrets to good leadership?
I’m not going to try and pretend to be an expert in leadership! My golden rule, which is yet to fail me, is to treat everyone as I would want to be treated myself. We are all grown-ups and I try to treat everyone with integrity and honesty.
How do you define success?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I think that success can mean different things to different people at different times. My kids often ask me if I had a good day and my answer can be shaped by the outcome of the smallest tasks as they may have been a particular objective for me that day. In judging success, I think that it is key to first understand your objectives and, when working in a team, its important to make sure that all the members of the team’s goals are aligned.
What three traits define you?
A little bit of talent, a lot of hard work and a dollop of good fortune! Being serious, I would say I am hard working, committed and prepared to lead by example. There is no task I would ask a member of my team to do that I’m not prepared to do myself.
What is your personal philosophy?
As I said above, my personal view is that there should be no task I would ask a member of my team to do that I’m not prepared to do myself.
Who do you admire most in your industry?
Rather than focusing on one particular person, I try to take the good bits from the many talented people I have worked with in the past. For example, there was a Partner who I admired for being able to succinctly communicate and address the issue at hand, and you knew that if he said he needed five minutes, that was how long it would take. I fondly remember a Manager who was excellent at networking and the Head of Security at my former firm who was the first person that guests to the office would meet and he would make everyone feel welcome.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I’ve always joked with my colleagues that I would be a Postman! I’m a creature of habit and not adverse to walking! Most of my professional career has been spent in London, so I’d take on a job where there was routine and I was away from the hustle and bustle of the city.