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Essex born and raised, I studied Law at Coventry before embarking on a career in recruitment. I have been recruiting since 2007 across various professional sectors focusing on the tax market since 2010.
Having in worked the industry for years, I have developed a network of contacts in a range of firms from the Big 4 through to smaller independent, boutique offerings. It’s a pleasure to see a number of former candidates as key clients and vice versa.
I have worked in Recruitment for nearly a decade with the majority of this time focused on the tax industry. I have helped candidates and clients across the UK and internationally from entry-level roles through to the most senior of appointments.
Outside of work, I enjoy my rugby and golf and can often be found watching one and playing the other! Aside from that I enjoy spending my time with family and friends. If I wasn't in recruitment, I’d be a professional golfer, that’d be the dream. It’s a great, if not often frustrating, sport!
I sat down with Genevieve Moore, Head of Corporate Tax at Blick Rothenberg to discuss the differences between the Big 4 and Mid-Tier Accountancy Practices. Genevieve made the move from Deloitte in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. How does the culture at Blick Rothenberg compare to your time in the Big 4? I think size does lead to a different culture. We are about 325 people now, across two offices and although we are growing rapidly, there is a family feel at Blick Rothenberg and I think this comes because you form deep working relationships with people, so you understand who they are as people and what is important in their life. This helps me manage staff better and get the best out of people, by understanding what makes them “tick” and letting them get on with what they are good at and enjoy. I’ve got to know people from other departments very well and worked closely with them, rather than only operating within one large Big 4 team. Our CEO meets personally with every new member of staff, and since his appointment in the role has arranged a half hour one to one with every member of staff to get to know them better and understand more about their views on the firm, their career and what we can do better. I can’t imagine many firms where the CEO would have this much involvement with the staff, but it certainly helps improve working relationships and staff engagement. Another key difference is the hands-on partner approach at Blick Rothenberg. I have day to day contact with my clients, from the first meeting to delivering the ultimate piece of advice, and all stages in between. Work isn’t over-delegated, and the partners are still tax advisors, not salespeople. We don’t have tax technical teams in London reviewing new legislation and sending out internal communications, we are the tax technical teams! This won’t be for everyone, and when I first joined Blick Rothenberg I opened my legislation more times in six months than I had in the previous two years at Deloitte. I really valued this experience and although I’m more involved in management now, I still have daily contact with my clients and the tax legislation! How does the quality of the work and team compare to the Big 4? I have clients which range from pre-revenue tech start-ups to UK listed (full and AIM), and international groups turning over billions. It’s certainly not true that a smaller firm doesn’t have good quality clients or work. Being in a mid-tier firm in London means we are well placed to attract excellent clients, and every day is varied with a number of different and unique situations for our clients, whether this is setting up a fund, helping a client design their overseas corporate structure, transfer pricing and supply chain advice, or implementing an employee incentive plan. One of our opportunities is that we can provide the independent tax advice for businesses which are audited by one of the Big 4 and need separate tax advisors, or simply want a different view. Many of our larger listed clients are audited by the Big 4 or Top 10 firms. The quality of the team is also very high, we have less staff, so it is very important to make sure we recruit the right people and that they will be a good fit with the team and the firm's values. One of the differences I have noticed is that we are very good at allowing people to do the things they are good at, rather than trying to make everyone the same, or push people into sales/marketing if that’s really not their cup of tea. This allows us to get the best out of people and retain our staff with higher engagement. What surprised you the most after making the move? I’d been told during interviews that Blick Rothenberg had an exceptional client base, but I don’t think I really believed it until I got there and started working on these clients, from top brands to household names. I was also pleasantly surprised by the pace at which you can get things done in a smaller organisation. Shortly after I joined I suggested when we should recruit some A-level students into the team, something which I had suggested at Deloitte and then been involved in designing and implementing their A-level recruitment path. At Deloitte, it took over five years from the day I suggested it until they recruited their first A-level students. At Blick Rothenberg, it took less than three months! The same is true with new markets and business ideas, as a smaller organisation and fewer tiers of management, we can be very quick to adapt to change and access new markets and technology. Was a move into the Mid-Tier a good move for you and would you recommend it? I had worked in the Top 10/ Big 4 for 12 years, always based in the regions before taking the jump to a mid-tier firm based in London. I’d done well in the Big 4 but it was after the jump to London that my career took off. In six months, I was made Partner, and two years later Head of Corporate Tax. The mentoring I have had from our CEO (previously Head of Tax) and the support from the firm has enabled me to really grow and develop as a person and I am sure I would not have been able to achieve all this if I hadn’t made the move to Blick Rothenberg. People shouldn’t be scared to leave the Big 4 brand behind them, the mid-tier firms do attract top quality clients, work and staff, but the environment is different to the Big 4 and won’t be suited to everyone. My advice if you thinking about making the move is to go and talk to them, there is nothing lost but an hour of time and you’ll very quickly get a feel for whether or not it is for you. If after reading this, you’d like to know a bit more about what opportunities are currently out there then please do reach out. I am working exclusively with a number of mid-tier firms and as Genevieve has stated, there is nothing lost but an hour of your time to find out if this is the right career move for you.
David Gibbs is an International Corporate Tax specialist at Alliotts. He has over 20 years’ experience in providing commercially focused tax advice and support to a wide range of clients, from technology start-ups to large inward investing corporates. What three traits define you? Fairness, honesty and hopefully a sense of humour. What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had? Not the strangest job as such, but a strange experience when I was an audit trainee – I spent one cold Sunday morning counting lorry trailers with a client as part of a due diligence exercise, only for me and the client to suddenly spot the unleashed guard dogs, who then promptly chased us, leaving us to literally have to dive through a hedge to escape. How do you define success? I think success is a personal thing, so if you set yourself a goal, for example running a marathon, and achieve it, that’s success. In business, it can be completing a successful piece of work, recruiting the right person, winning a new client, many many things. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? If I had the talent, it would definitely be something creative in the music industry, ideally a guitarist or keyboard player, which many years ago I had aspirations to do. What is your personal philosophy? You only get out of life what you put in. If we work hard at something, I think that gives us most reward, be it work, home life or hobbies. Conversely, we can’t expect success if we don’t try at it. How do you start your day? On a working day, I like to spend the first 10 or 15 minutes setting my goals for the day and listing the actions I need to achieve. I was once told that as a partner you should only plan about 30% of your day as inevitably the unexpected crops up and will need instantly dealing with. What’s your favourite thing about working for your current company? We do genuinely have a great client base which is constantly providing interesting, challenging and rewarding client work. We’ve also built up a good reputation in some specialist sectors, such as media and technology, which are fast-moving and almost daily bring us new opportunities which hopefully makes it exciting for our team to work with. What are the secrets to good leadership? You have to have a clear vision for your firm, you have to be able to articulate it well and then bring people along with you. To do this I believe you need empathy and understanding of what motivates and drives individuals, and then make the connection with what they can do and your vision. What makes your company unique? We’re an entrepreneurial firm, we can move quickly to achieve things and we have a very light decision-making process. The partners trust each other and get on well, so if we want to do things we usually back each other to get on with it. Who do you most admire in your industry? I was fortunate to work for Sir Ian Powell when I was at PwC who took over as senior partner in 2008, just before the financial crisis hit. He managed to steer the firm not only into relative safety but innovated and grew what was already a huge business into an impressive wide-reaching firm whilst also giving back to the community. His style was one of being able to take tough decisions yet always being able to communicate and empathise with anyone, from major political leaders to a new trainee. Back to 60 Seconds archive >>
If you could banish anything to room 101 what would it be and why? Manels! (all male panels) – I currently chair the Women in Tax group, and we are always happy to suggest great women speakers for events. What do you do to unwind at the weekend? Walk the dog in the Cheshire countryside where I live. What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to make Tax Partner? Make sure you’ve worked out what you want from your career, and then have a plan to achieve it – but be flexible as things never turn out entirely as planned. What do Blick Rothenberg do well? I’ve found Blick Rothenberg are big enough to be able to provide the full range of advice but small enough to really care about clients and staff at a personal level. What is your biggest bugbear about CVs? They are highly polished and don’t allow people’s personalities to shine through. How would your team describe you? I hope they’d say I am inspiring but approachable. If not in tax, what would the dream be? Playing Lady Macbeth at the RSC. Biggest superstition/fear? That Brexit will be an almighty mess. What is your morning routine before work? Up early and catch the train, then walk from the station to the office, stopping for breakfast on the way. Skiing or beach? Neither – exploring somewhere new, preferably with a good walk followed by a glass of wine at the end of the day. Who is your hero? Judi Dench – 83 and still going strong as a wonderful Shakespearian actor. What is your life hack / top tip? Always do your best, but then be satisfied with that – it’s not possible to be perfect. Back to 60 Seconds archive >>