By: AJ Chambers | 14 May, 2024

Meet the 35 Under 35 Winners: Lorenzo Coletta, Director, Ascendis

“I really enjoy and get a sense of fulfilment from helping my clients grow their business.”

Our 35 Under 35 highlights the best young talent in Accountancy, in partnership with Accountancy Age. We talk to Lorenzo Coletta, Director at Ascendis, about his career and insights on working with tech start-ups. Lorenzo explains how advisory work is now more and more relevant in the sector. He also discusses why the shortage of talent will impact growth rates of many firms out there.

lorenzo coletta ascendis

Hi Lorenzo, who are you and what do you do?

I’m Lorenzo and I am one of the Directors at Ascendis. In terms of client facing work I focus on tech start-ups although we do work with a wide variety of SMEs. We provide our clients with anything from compliance work to business advisory services and everything in-between. I’ve also been working on Ascendis internally, implementing internal controls/systems to improve visibility of our own performance both financially and in terms of quality of service to clients, enabling our managers and teams to have a better understanding of how they are impacting the business as a whole.

What has your career journey been like to date?

Over the years I’ve worked at a number of accounting practices and this has given me plenty of exposure to a wide variety of businesses of varying sizes from many industries but, importantly, it has also given me insight into how different organisations operate internally.

I felt that I had reached a point in my career where my skillset could be leveraged to grow the business rather than just perform services for clients and so in 2018 I joined the (already excellent) team at Ascendis with that in mind and we have really grown in the years since.

35 under 35

What do you enjoy about your area of Accounting?

I really enjoy and get a sense of fulfilment from helping my clients grow their business. For example, explaining financial data and metrics to a client who is perhaps non-financial and helping them translate this into real-life, tangible and actionable points.

I find this is more relevant when dealing with a start-up, even if it isn’t their first business venture, as their management teams tend to be smaller and tech-focused, so guidance on financials is always appreciated.

What are the latest trends you are seeing in the Accountancy sector?

Over the last few years advisory work has become more and more relevant in the sector, where it was once a completely separate function. This is now very well cemented in accountancy and simply expected as a service rather than being a differentiator.

Simpler finance functions are being fulfilled by technology more and more so naturally the real value in an accountant is now their ability to ‘connect the dots’ and give insightful advice to their clients.

Are there any specific challenges you are facing at the moment?

There is clearly a shortage of people in the sector and this will impact growth rates of many firms out there. We’ve been blessed with some truly remarkable additions to our team over the last few years but, as with any growing business, we will be in need of more.

I’ve heard peers complain that this shortage is due to the pandemic and people retraining completely out of the industry for whatever personal reasons. Whilst all of the above may have had a hand it the current shortage, the real issue is that 10-15 years ago quite a lot of smaller employers simply stopped investing in training up younger staff. So a decade later there is a tangible shortage of people with the required level of experience.

Who or what inspires you?

Although I’ve worked with many wonderful people over the years I’ve not really had anyone who I would call a ‘mentor’. Until more recently, I would say I was very much self-taught. Mentoring has really allowed me to grow to the next level and take a completely different approach to work.

I’ve also made it a personal objective to make time to help and mentor those earlier on in their careers to grow to their full potentials.

What advice would you give others looking to pursue a career in Accountancy?

If you have an analytical mind and you are good with numbers you’re half-way there. Also, if you’re good at explaining yourself then you’ve got the full package. But nobody starts out with it all from the onset.

If you’re interested in how different businesses work then I’d say that a career in accountancy can give you some pretty interesting perspectives.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t be scared to make big or hard decisions. It’ll either pay off or you can start again.

Lorenzo Coletta was listed in the 35 Under 35 Accountancy Age Winners in 2022.

The deadline for 2024 applications is Friday 31st May.


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