60 Seconds - David Prestwich, Partner and Head of Tax & Legal PwC Caribbean
Posted by Kevin Racher
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to make Partner? In every job or industry, there is always success to be found in prioritising that thing that matters most to the company you're employed by. In teaching, the best teachers are the ones who develop kids quickest. In football, you earn the most if you score goals. In professional services, prioritising client needs and servicing them best is the quickest and most direct route to career success. I made partner reasonably quickly because, despite some failings, I was always passionate about client service and building relationships. What does PwC do well? PwC is a huge organisation, operating in a very dynamic global marketplace, with a relatively complex leadership and management model. I think the most impressive thing about the firm is, despite this complexity, our DNA is to always put clients first. We are here to serve clients and will always prioritise that agenda, despite anything else going on. What is your biggest bugbear about CVs? They all gravitate to saying the same thing! It's such a competitive market that a little bit of knowledge or “best practice” spreads like wildfire and before you know it every CV is saying the same thing! Surely everyone cannot be “driven”, “passionate” and “goal orientated” and great at “thinking outside of the box”? Nothing extraordinary ever comes from those who think like everyone else does in life. Authenticity is actually the biggest scarce resource in business, so that is the thing to sell. How would your team describe you? Most well I think :). I've worked in a lot of teams over the years and I think I would consistently get described as innovative, client-focused and good at developing people and teams. If not in tax, what would the dream be? Strangely, I always wanted to be a professional advisor, dealing with complex issues for senior clients who were leading global businesses. Had that pipe-dream not worked out, my fall back was going to be a striker at Liverpool football club or lead singer in a band. Biggest superstition/fear? Quite simple. Failure. From a very young age (for psychological reasons too lengthy to mention!), I've always had a pressing need to prove myself and be successful. It's not always a great character trait, as it often disguises the fact that I'm actually a team player, but it does mean I'm usually very focused and successful in what I turn my mind too. What is your morning routine before work? Before I left the UK, this would have been a quick dash half-dressed out of the door with half a piece of toast hanging from my mouth whilst swearing at the latest train delays! However, since moving to Barbados, I'm up very early, have a morning swim, then get dressed and have coffee and breakfast before a drive down the beautiful coast to the office. Much more decorum. Skiing or beach? You would think I would say beach living in the Caribbean, but I absolutely adore snowboarding! Who is your hero? My little sister. She had a big medical operation when she was young which kept her in the hospital for a significant period of time. I still remember in my early teens crying my eyes out seeing her in the hospital with tubes everywhere, but she just got on with it without complaint or fuss. I've fought in lots of international karate competitions in my life, and come out with some real injuries, cuts and bruises, but I've still never met anyone as tough as my little sis. What is your life hack / top tip? Do the things that are difficult. And do them first. You will gain the 20% of time immediately that everyone else wastes by worrying about how tough it is, by just getting on with it.