Welcome to our new series where we meet and interview those listed in the recent 35 Under 35. Highlighting the young talent in the Accountancy sector.
In this article we discuss Dominic Noakes’ career path into accountancy, his current role at Top 30 Firm Haysmacintyre, as well as his thoughts on how cloud accountancy is empowering and creating endless opportunities.
HI DOMINIC. PLEASE CAN YOU TELL US WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO?
I am Dominic Noakes, a Director at Haysmacintyre, an award-winning firm of Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisors.
QWHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER JOURNEY TO DATE?
I suspect like many Accountants in practice today, I wasn’t always certain I wanted to become an Accountant!
I studied Accounting and Finance at university, but after graduating I undertook a Masters in Sports Business Finance as I wanted to pursue a career in two of my main passions – sport and finance.
After graduating with distinction, I found good opportunities in the sporting world limited, so I decided to build a long-term career in the accounting profession after learning more about the ACCA, which particularly appealed to me as I saw it as industry and internationally focused.
I enrolled myself onto the ACCA and an opportunity arose at a small local accounting practice. I was self-taught and self-funded, which further motivated me to pass all the exams first time!
In my experience you are usually required to work across many areas of accounting in a small practice, which was great for me starting out in my career. I gained a solid grounding in the basics of accounting, tax, company secretarial and payroll.
After qualifying within 3 years and working up to a Finance Manager level, I decided to move to central London and a much bigger practice, when I joined Haysmacintyre in 2016.
Since then, I have been very fortunate to learn from many great people. I have managed a diverse and often challenging portfolio comprising predominantly small and often fast-growing companies.
In April 2021 I was promoted to Director and now lead several strategic firm projects.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR AREA OF THE ACCOUNTING PROFESSION?
I love that I am able to work with many companies at the same time, which has given me a huge amount of exposure to different industries, services, and ways of operating.
Although I’m now more specialised in my area of accountancy, every day has a new client challenge or opportunity. I love the fast pace and strong relationships I have forged and the client facing aspect, where I have become a trusted advisor to many growing businesses.
WE KNOW THAT CLOUD ACCOUNTING ADOPTION IS WIDESPREAD. WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE NOW?
Even now I have seen statistics that would shock many in terms of how many companies still do not use cloud technology and software!
Cloud technology used correctly enhances automation, integration, and collaboration. This means accountants can spend more time on value-add work, advisory services, and engagement with clients. But we are only able to do this with the right data, structure, and processes.
I am a huge advocate of changing outdated accounting stereotypes. By speaking frequently with my clients, offering real time, data lead insights and much more than a traditional ‘once a year’ service to clients. Cloud accounting is a big enabler of this!
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE FACING RIGHT NOW?
Keeping pace with evolving technology is demanding as there is so much noise and choice in the industry. Knowing which apps and software to use and recommend to clients is time consuming, requires energy to implement and get buy in from all stakeholders. My team are tackling this challenge by increasing our investment in technology and we have implemented dedicated project teams.
Equally challenging right now is attracting and retaining good people. Probably more so now than I have ever experienced. I feel there are several reasons for this; one of the main catalysts is the changing expectations of ‘GenZ’ and people in general in the post pandemic era. I believe the changing landscape is largely positive and I’m a big proponent of flexible working.
We are all striving to upskill our team, taking a flexible approach, and empowering staff to take control of their own future!
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO BE EVEN BETTER?
I am a driven and ambitious person, but my son and daughter inspire me to be a great role model and a better person every day. Life is too short not to throw yourself into it!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN ACCOUNTANCY?
I wouldn’t want to change my university experience. I grew as a person with the independence my time at university gave me.
However, I don’t think a university degree should be considered essential for a career in accountancy. In my experience, many of the best accountants I have worked with do not hold university degrees. It is often the case that earlier entry into work gives people a jumpstart.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Be kind to people and treat people how you would like to be treated. I am far more impressed by how people treat others.