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Swindells’ new partner is an old hand

Swindells Accounting announces first new partner in over a decade…

‘The partners are very excited to announce that we are appointing a new partner here at Swindells as from 1 April. Sally Webber joined us straight after leaving college 11 years ago, she first qualified as a Chartered Accountant and more recently a Chartered Tax Advisor. We are looking forward to Sally joining the partnership team and helping us continue to grow the business.’

Melanie Richardson, Managing Partner: We sat down with Sally to talk about her eleven-year journey with Swindells, how her role and the industry has changed and where she sees the accounting industry moving in the future.

Why did you choose a career in accounting?
Numbers came easily to me, much more easily than letters and words, that’s how my brain works. I think it was that quirk of genetics and further interest that first took my thoughts towards a career in accounting at a young age. It was an area I had a natural comfort with, I fitted in.

When did you join Swindells?
I joined Swindells at the age of 18 after completing my A levels at Heathfield Community College eleven and a half years ago…’you get less for murder these days.’ I spent two years as a trainee studying for my AAT, followed by further studying to become a Chartered Accountant (Sally achieved the top mark in the world for her first exam at the time with a score of 96%) and most recently qualifying as a Chartered Tax Advisor last year…

What keeps you interested in the role?
There is always something to learn, as soon as I have got to grips with one thing, I’m being
encouraged to learn and take on more which I love. It keeps each day interesting as there is always change in our industry you have to be up to date. I’m still working with clients that I started with and it’s amazing to see their businesses grow alongside my career. Working across countries with our international clients on group audits, valuations and restructuring deals has thrown up some interesting challenges over the years!

How has Swindells helped you progress in your career?
As a training firm Swindells has been excellent. The firm is committed to developing staff internally, they have funded my training, provided study leave and people are always around if you need to check something. Having a strong partnership team including a mentor and role model in Melanie at the firm has been a real influence in my career.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
During my time at Swindells, the business has been through some monumental challenges and changes. From having a fire burn down our offices in the middle of the night to tough economic times…we’ve all gone through a lot. I think it’s a testament to the team that’s been built here that we’re still going strong.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for the industry in the future?
Adapting to and adopting technology; there have been huge changes to the way every industry in the world operates and ours is no different. Cloud accounting, Making Tax Digital, even remote working…but the real challenge here is not to lose the human side to our business. Just because the technologies exist, we work out the best way to use them in our services for our clients. No one client is the same and at Swindells we really get to know our clients (inevitable when you’ve been working with them for over a decade!)… the cookie cutter approach rarely works for anyone in our industry. We pride ourselves on our client service.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to enter the industry?
Go for it, I’d recommend doing your training with a firm like Swindells. I didn’t go to university, I learned on the job and although I can’t speak for the other route there are so many nuances to this work that you can’t gain from a textbook.

What do you think has helped you progress so quickly and successfully?
Being headstrong, having a goal and not being afraid to go after it.

How will your responsibilities change and what are you looking forward to?
Well it’s the first time we’ve had a new partner in ten years, so I think we’re all interested to see how my role will develop. I’ll be sharing the workload with the rest of the partnership team and I’m really looking forward to help shape and guide the firm in the future.

‘I’d like to thank the partners and the wider team at Swindells for the training, support and
guidance I’ve received throughout my career. I’ve been here over a decade and in that time, I’ve worked with an amazingly talented and committed group of colleagues. I’m looking forward to the new challenges ahead and to working with the partners to grow the business.’Sally Webber