What led you to pursue a career in accountancy?
Training as a Chartered Accountant is a fantastic way to learn about business and offers you a practical insight into all sorts of diverse companies and industries. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics, including economics, management and law, as well as the areas of accountancy, audit and tax which people normally associate with accountants. It’s a career that exposes you to all aspects of a business and all levels of management, from the very moment you start. It also requires you to work in teams and develop great relationships with your clients. It’s a varied job that’s constantly throwing new challenges at you and keeps you on your toes!
What were the biggest challenges in the early days and how did you overcome these?
Working towards a professional qualification requires you to combine studying for professional exams, whilst maintaining your “day job” and serving clients to the highest standard. The exams themselves are very tough (with a lot riding on them!) but balancing the pressures of work and study was probably the biggest challenge of all.
Did you ever feel like giving up and how did you overcome that?
The 3 year training period to be a Chartered Accountant is tough and requires organisation and discipline to get through it. After that, it’s a career that moves quickly and, if you ever start to feel you’re in a rut, there’s always a new challenge around the corner to catch your attention and keep you focused and motivated.
Was it difficult at times to balance family commitments and business commitments, and what are your tips for finding that balance?
Finding the perfect work-life balance often feels like an impossible task. I have a young family, which gives extra importance to trying to achieve that goal but I don’t think there’s any magical solution. My approach is to try and not mix the two up – so, unless there’s a work emergency to deal with, my family time is just that and I avoid incessantly checking emails or worrying about what needs to be done in the office. I also try to prioritise tasks so that I don’t miss out on what’s important (both in work and in life!).
What were the biggest mistakes you think you made?
I’ve been guilty of getting too bogged down with the details and failing to see the big picture. There’s no use doing a fantastic job on something which adds little value to your overall business plan. With hindsight, there are also decisions which I would have made faster to avoid a negative situation persisting.
What would you do differently if you had the chance?
They say travel broadens the mind and, having the chance again, I would like to have spent time working in a different country (outside Gibraltar and the UK).
What are the achievements you are most proud of?
In over 16 years working at Deloitte in Gibraltar, I’ve experienced the firm grow and prosper, developing dozens of young Gibraltarian professionals and strengthening its reputation as a trusted advisor to the Gibraltar business community. I’m extremely proud that I’ve been a part of that!
What do you think are the most important characteristics of successful business leaders?
There’s no blueprint for success and success comes in many different forms. However, a business leader can improve their chances of success by developing a realistic business plan, which sets out what he wants to achieve and how he is going to do it. This should have simple goals and a clear strategy to achieve those goals. He should also surround himself with people who can effectively implement that strategy with him, as business is rarely a solo venture (even a sole trader will be helped by having great advisors). Additionally, successful business leaders are often ones who are flexible and can adapt to changing environments or recognise when they have made the wrong choices.
What is your favourite thing about being in business?
I enjoy being challenged and look forward to the different experiences that each day brings. This arises from the different types of work that come my way and from the different people I interact with – both within Deloitte and from the business community we serve. I know that a stressful and frustrating day can often by followed by an exciting and entertaining one.
Business is rarely a smooth road, but the ride can be a lot of fun!
What is your business dream and has the end game changed for you over the years?
I want to participate in developing a successful business that it is an integral part of the community it serves. This means growth and financial success but also contributing to Gibraltar’s success and the success of the businesses within it.
As time goes by, I think I am better able to step back and get a ‘big picture’ view of what is most important, rather than concentrating on narrower goals.
Why did you join the GFSB and what are its greatest strengths?
I had always viewed the GFSB positively but was curious to learn more about what it did. What I’ve found is that the GFSB is involved in all aspects of business in Gibraltar. Members of the GFSB sit on numerous committees and boards, from business licensing to EU funding to the Cross Frontier Group. There are always events to organise and promote and a lot of time is spent representing members’ views to Government and other bodies.
Undoubtedly, the GFSB’s greatest strength is its membership. Its large and diverse membership means that its views are sought after and carry a lot of weight. The participation of the members is also what makes the GFSB’s events, such as the annual dinner and breakfast clubs, such a success.