In this article we discuss Craig Ewins-Jones’ career path into Accountancy and his thoughts on how firms are having to adapt their strategies and structures to ensure efficient service to their clients.
Hi Craig, who are you and what do you do?
I am an Audit and Accounts Manager for Rickard Luckin Ltd and have worked at the firm for 11 years. My main responsibilities are to motivate, develop and support my team. Then, look after a portfolio of clients helping them to achieve their aims. And contribute to and maintain a fun and professional working environment in which our people can thrive.
What has your career journey been like?
I stumbled into accountancy, which is to say that I never necessarily aimed at becoming an accountant. Rickard Keen recommended by my college tutor who had links to accountancy practices in the local area and identified it as an industry that leant itself to my strengths at the time. I had a year out between school and college whilst my family were contemplating a move to Australia which ultimately never happened but allowed me to study and pass the AAT level 2 course to ensure I made use of the year. I then returned to college to complete 3 A Levels (Maths, Economics and Physics) and 2 AS Levels (Business Studies and Further Maths).
From there I joined Rickard Keen, studied and attained my certificate in accounting, finance and business, then my ACA qualification and did actually get one exam from completing my CTA which I made a conscious but difficult decision to stop working towards in order to focus on a new role as manager of the firm.
What do you enjoy about your area of the Accounting industry?
When I was younger my mathematics and problem solving skills meant that a role in accountancy made sense. And allowed me to learn and hone the necessary skills, however, it was after being in the business and working with a team of high performers and talented and successful clients that I realised my passion was more people focused.
I now find myself in a line management role and my personal mission here is to motivate, develop and support my team, helping them to meet both their day-to-day objectives and also their longer term career goals and ambitions. This is one of the key factors that gets me out of bed in the morning.
I also have the opportunity of working with fantastic local businesses who are the masters of their craft. My client facing role is less numbers-based these days and more focused on the intangible goals set by businesses. Helping them to overcome hurdles and reach their potential.
What opportunities are there now in Accountancy?
In a world where technology and automation are driving down prices and turnaround times, there is an opportunity for us to grow. And nurture a team of highly motivated individuals to become true business advisors.
The industry has changed over the 11 years I have been involved. With less data entry now required and more real time and proactive advice driven by really understanding our client’s businesses and ultimate aims.
Here we have an opportunity to build robust and lasting relationships with our clients and to maximise the value we can offer them.
What is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?
The opportunity which arises as a result of technology automation is also a challenge. Accountancy practices may need to adapt their strategies and structures. To ensure efficient services are being offered to clients which maximise value.
Our firm is full of talent who recognise this and constantly refine our approach to ensure we deliver the best service. We are also doubling down on our training strengths. To ensure our people have training available to meet the increasing and changing demands of the various roles.
Who or what inspires you?
I enjoy working hard. My work ethic has been instilled into me by my mother and it is this that keeps me going. I am also convinced that you are able to have fun whilst also working hard to achieve personal, client and business goals and this is also something that drives me to be better.
I want my team to have the best support, my clients to have the best advice and our business to achieve its strategic goals and I can do my part with continuous self-improvement.
What advice would you give others looking to pursue a career in Accountancy?
Ultimately, in life you need to do what works for you. Not all paths are going to be the same. We are groups of individuals working together to help achieve the aims of other individuals. So my three pieces of advice would be:
1) Follow the path that offers you the most joy and lends itself to your own strengths. If you are still at the stage of selecting subjects to pursue in school or college, pick subjects you enjoy. Life is about balance so select subjects which test you in different ways.
2) Physical exercise and fitness is extremely important for your mental and physical wellbeing. So try to incorporate some sort of physical exercise into your weekly routine. Something is better than nothing.
3) Start every day with some objectives to ensure you have some structure. And can reflect on what you have achieved.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I have had the benefit of working with some fantastic and inspiring individuals. So the good advice I have been given over the years is substantial. Something that stands out and was offered to me, was to seek out the opportunities that make me uncomfortable. The thought behind this was that, if I’m feeling challenged or nervous, it is likely it is helping me to grow. Jake Humphrey puts it more eloquently: “Don’t sit in the comfy chair”.