Holiday accountants: an ax thrower, a heavy metal DJ and a hotel manager

Our recent research has shown that accountants face many serious challenges, so we want to highlight their brilliant work and their lives outside the industry. here, We continue In celebration of the accountants, talking to Callum Tingle, ax thrower and headmaster New business solutionsZahra Kasamali, hotel manager and accountant Jaffer & Coand Neil Criddle, founder NDC and a heavy metal DJ.

They tell us more about the misconceptions they face, how their side projects complement their day-to-day roles, and why they love the accounting industry.

Management of books and reservations

Zahra Kasamali runs six bed and breakfasts in central London alongside her role as an accountant at Jaffer & Co. According to Zahra, these two professions complement each other: “I divide my time between jobs. You have to be organized to manage it, but accountancy was a useful training ground and allowed me to refine my decision-making.”

Following in her father’s footsteps, Zahra is a trained accountant and knows the misconceptions in the industry:

“I’ve always known about accounting, but I don’t think many people do. They think he’s looking at a computer screen, but he works more with small businesses and offers exciting opportunities. “Half of my friends went into accounting and used those skills to study other subjects.”

Zahra explains how these misconceptions can be changed. He says: “It’s hard to explain what an accountant does to a student with no experience, so it has to be well packaged. More apprenticeships would help – something practical to show people the ropes.”

He also feels that Xero has helped bring accounting into the limelight: “which is important not only for accounting but also for small businesses.”

hitting targets

Callum Tingle of Fresh Business Solutions is an accountant, small business owner and ax thrower. In 2020, Calum and his brother opened The Ax House, fighting the pandemic to come out the other side, with a new bar now open next door, also run by the brothers.

The combination of these different industries has struck a chord with clients, Callum says: “We have adverts in the office and people say it looks great and we’ve had people come into the bar who recognize me and say, ‘What are you doing here? ”

Xero Callum Axe Spennymoor 008 Smaart Company Accounting, Tax, & Insurance Services Smaart Company Accounting, Tax, & Insurance Services

Calum founded his firm when he was just 19 years old and has gone through many changes. “Old fashioned bookkeeping is very rigid, but now we use software to make life easier for clients and it’s all compatible with Xero. We also have fun and that comes across on social media and the website – it puts customers at ease.”

But Calum tells us that people leaving university are not trained in the customer engagement side of the industry, which makes recruitment difficult. He adds that “there needs to be more talk about finance in schools and colleges – this could bring more people into the industry.”

With a merger on the horizon, the future is bright for Fresh Business Solutions. And Ax House remains on the cutting edge.

Balance to bass drop

Neil Criddle, founder of NDC, is also a heavy metal DJ. And it’s fair to say his work ethic is to be admired: “A normal DJ set is between 9pm and 6am, including setting up and getting home, so it can often turn into a 22 hour day when I get to work the next day. .”

This is parallel to establishing a successful accountancy practice: “I didn’t have much of an idea of ​​the industry until I started the business in 2020 – I’d never worked in a practice before, only in big businesses.”

Neil tells us that using technology gives him an advantage: “Accountants have to talk to clients regularly and use technology. I was quick to differentiate myself from clients based on this – especially during the pandemic when I was doing webinars and online interviews. “

Xero Neil DJ WSM 027 Smaart Company Accounting, Tax, & Insurance Services Smaart Company Accounting, Tax, & Insurance Services

He also bucks the trend in recruiting: “I’ve hired less experienced people and focused on people – I’ve found two amazing people and I’ve got another newbie who I know will be brilliant with clients.”

But this, according to him, is an exception in accounting. “There are walls to enter the industry. My staff would find it difficult to fall into stereotypical practices. Industry should focus on soft skills rather than qualifications.”

And Neil’s passion for the industry is palpable. He concludes: “The whole point of accounting is that there are always different stories to tell – whether the client is a plumber or an employment agency, we can find creative ways to explain the numbers. This is not customer service, this is partnership. We don’t work for them, we work with them.”

Want to learn more about how we celebrate real accountants? Check out this page. And if you want to learn more about how the industry is coming together to tackle the employment challenge, Read our guide Exploring technology, talent and change with insights from our latest event, Xero Talks.

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