60 Seconds - Niki Phillips, Director of Tax at The Financial Times
Posted by Jake Hearn
Niki Phillips started her working life as a VAT Executive Officer in H.M. Customs & Excise, before retraining as a Chartered Accountant in tax with EY. Having moved into industry more than 10 years ago, she currently heads up the tax team at Financial Times, which has been built up from scratch over the last two years, since Nikkei Inc purchased the FT group. What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to make Head of Tax? Take every opportunity that works for you, you never know where it might lead and, if something’s not working out, move on. What do Financial Times do well? Technology. FT has made this a priority to keep moving with the times. In 2012, our digital subscriber base exceeded print circulation for the first time and in 2016, digital revenues exceeded print revenues for the first time. Digital now represents more than three-quarters of FT’s total paying audience and mobile drives almost half of the total traffic. What is your biggest bugbear about CVs? Waffle. Never put something on a CV that makes people think “well, what does that actually mean?” and never include anything that you can’t back up in a discussion, with solid examples. How would your team describe you? I was recently introduced by one of them as ‘the fountain of all knowledge’ which is definitely an exaggeration! I think they’d normally describe me as a little bit mad, because I’ve spent a large part of my ‘working’ life not actually working, but sailing! If not in tax, what would the dream be? That’s easy because I spend half my life doing it – sailing … long-term, long-distance sailing. Biggest superstition/fear? My fear is getting to the end of my life with serious regrets. I don’t have any yet, thankfully. What is your morning routine before work? Up at 6.20. Three mornings a week I go swimming before going to the office. Skiing or beach? I’d have to say skiing, as I used to race (slalom), though I haven’t been skiing now for about 20 years. Who is your hero? I’ve never had an all-encompassing hero, but I most admire ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things and especially those who don’t shout about it, so nobody’s ever heard of them. What is your life hack / top tip? Always be bold with thoughts and actions and stand up for what you believe in.