Beyond the balance sheet

Your career as a business advisor/accountant - it's about how good you want to be

James Tillotson 29/10/2015 5 minute read

Wellers welcome James Tillotson FCA into the partnership by looking back on his career to date as a business advisor and accountant.

In the last 4 years he was the running man in the London Marathon, has taken part in triathlon’s, got married, started a family, moved out of the city and renovated his home. For some, doing all of that would be more than enough, but now James has accepted arguably the biggest and most exciting challenge of his professional career – becoming a Partner at Wellers.  

Following on from Ercan Demiralay (the previous Wellers’ manager to advance to partner level) and as part of the firm’s ethos of building up advisors for the future, we’re delighted that James has been promoted to partner. With the retirements of Norman Sawyer and Peter Sharp, this reflects our continuous commitment to building knowledge and skills through the generations.

Whether you’re one of James’ clients, looking to join our firm as a member of staff, or a client who hasn’t yet worked with him, you’ll find his story an insightful example of what can be achieved at Wellers with the right attitude, hard work and dedication.

Why Wellers has a new partner

Taking on new partners is all part of the career structure that has been put in place by the firm. The career plan operates from trainees through to partner level. That means everyone up to, and including, the managing partner has a shadow (or deputy) and a mentor.  It's all part of looking after our people - training and then developing them into the managers and the leaders of tomorrow. We do this because in today's business world, it's absolutely essential to retain your best staff – the people who maintain the close relationships we enjoy with our clients.   

The leadership team here love seeing our people upskill, develop and improve. It's an essential part of delivering an excellent client service, or what we term as business oxygen. We have great people who want to help clients succeed and who derive great satisfaction from seeing them do exactly that. The career structure exists to help guide and reward staff into becoming the trailblazers of the future. James' promotion can be seen as evidence of that process - it's something we're very proud of.

What James loves about his work

If you commute a long way into work, then you'll know how that can entail an early start. James’ journey involves a considerable commute which means being up usually before sunrise to be at work by 8am. So what is it that motivates him to endure the early rise?  

For James it’s all about team work and a sense of belonging. So much so that he doesn’t really notice the early morning call or journey time any more. Furthermore, the nature of the role means being part of a team in two areas – internally in respect of the firm and also externally in respect of our clients’ businesses as well:

“I love the fact that there is a real desire throughout the firm’s offices and personnel to help our clients succeed. We all love working with them, providing advice and solutions to then watch them achieve their goals. In that sense we’re very different to the traditional image of accountants. I would say we’re very dynamic.

“There is a diverse range of people who make up Wellers. People work hard here, are empathetic, have a good sense of humour and are well respected for what they do and achieve. It’s all about how good you want to be. That’s why I have found it a very conducive environment in which to advance my career and achieve my aspiration of becoming an owner of a growing business.”

How James started at Wellers

James joined Wellers because he noticed the market was changing considerably. Technology was about to result in significant changes (and continues to do so) and he could see that clients wanted more from their professional advisors.

He realised that he wanted to be at a firm that not only recognized the fast-paced change of the market but saw it as an opportunity to differentiate itself from the competition and do great business with clients, growing and performing in tandem with their own successes.

“In Wellers I found a firm that believed in giving its staff opportunities and responsibility at an early stage in their careers, encouraging them to be a part of the business in a manner that competitors might shy away from.

“There was a transparency and openness about the role and career path. My development was encouraged and career progress was spoken about regularly. Responsibility is given to people to encourage them to develop and contribute to the growth and development of Wellers.

“Everyone is encouraged to get involved in all aspects of the business. This revolves around a central core where investment is made in developing technical excellence and enhancing the close relationships we encourage with clients.”

Growing the corporate finance function

A key part of James’ role moving forward will be to further develop the corporate finance function at the firm. With the startup climate that is dominating Britain’s business scene, there is significant demand from early stage businesses to raise finance along with the plethora of services that can go with that.

James and his fellow partners conduct a significant amount of work for clients in areas including:

As part of his new role he will now look to expand this offering externally by ensuring clients are aware of our specialism, while also further developing the skills and knowledge of junior staff in this area internally.

An exciting future

James is excited about the future and what it holds.

“I’ve witnessed huge developments in the four years I have been here. Technology is driving enormous change which is very exciting for our clients in terms of their products/services and the tools they can use.

“Many view technology in terms of efficiency and the driving down of prices. Actually it’s revolutionising our industry through empowerment of both entrepreneurs and the professionals who advise them.

“I feel our business oxygen approach to servicing entrepreneurs dovetails very well with these new trends. We’re a firm that sees these developments and understands where and how our business plan fits with them. Ultimately it's all about improving and enhancing the client service and relationship. For that reason I have no doubt that the next 4 years will be even more exciting than the last.”

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The content of this post is up to date and relevant as at 29/10/2015.

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