This month we chat to Chris Regnauld from Afford Bond Chartered Accountants.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Tax Director at Afford Bond Chartered Accountants in Cheshire and this year marks my 10th anniversary with the firm (cue party popper).  We have offices in Nantwich and Wilmslow and an extremely diverse client base from all over the UK.

Although my area of expertise is of course taxation, I always endeavour to bring a holistic approach to my work. I think it’s extremely important to ensure that we provide advice and strategies that connect all areas of a client’s needs, and not just what appears to be the headline concerns or goals.

Over the years, I have also developed relationships with smaller independent firms of accountants both locally and nationally, and regularly provide tax support to their clients as and when required.

What’s the first thing you do at the start of your working day?

Well…I guess you could argue that this is ‘pre-working day’, but if I’m not walking through the office door with a Costa Coffee in hand, then I’m truly concerned about what the day will bring. It’s my ‘fuel’ for the day.

However, once I have had that much needed ‘caffeine kick start’, the aim is to always get into the office a little early so that I can prep for the day ahead, sort out a few emails and be ready for the phone to start ringing.

How do you plan out your day? A good old fashioned to do list, or more go with the flow?

I really do like a list. I like to know when something came in, what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. When I’m sitting at my desk with my coffee/fuel in hand, it’s the first thing I review. Without a bit of structure and planning to the day there is a risk that communication will falter and things will get missed. There’s nothing worse for a client than sending an email and not receiving any form of acknowledgement back. Just a simple “Thanks for the email” with an indication of how and when it will be dealt with is all it needs. Communication is something we really pride ourselves on and we always do our best to ensure that our clients get the response they need, when they need it.

What’s your desk and workspace like?

I do like to think that I’m pretty organised and tidy to be honest. The modern age of paperless communications does help me to achieve that goal, but I do make a concerted effort to ensure that I keep it this way. Feng Shui your workspace; that’s what I say – Tidy office, Tidy mind!

That said, I will be honest, I never used to be like that…I used to adopt the phrase ‘organised chaos’ as justification for being messy. But once I’d changed my ways and made a concerted effort to be tidy, my working environment felt far less stressful.

What is the big issue affecting your sector at the moment?

I think a lot of my fellow professionals in the accountancy and tax sector will agree that we’ve had quite a lot to deal with over the last two years. Brexit, Covid-19, Making Tax Digital, tax reform etc.

As accountants, the buzz word is ‘proactive’ and it’s what we always endeavour to be, so staying ahead of the game (especially when it came to the ever-changing Covid support) was extremely challenging. But we got through it, and it’s been lovely to receive all the positive feedback from our client base.

Ultimately, if something impacts on our clients’ operations, and we have the ability to help, we’ll always be on hand. So, a big shout out to all my fellow accountants and advisers after what has been (and still is) a very challenging period!

Do you have a business niche?

I work a lot with other independent firms of accountants to help them provide good, solid tax advice to their clients, without having to invest in-house. I have a mixed tax background which enables me to provide comprehensive support across a number of areas.

Within my own client base, there also seems to be a lot of activity in the corporate arena at the moment, whether that be restructuring family groups, acquisitions, mergers, sales etc, so I’m finding that a lot of time is being invested into those areas.

What do you do to escape the world of tax and accounts?

Drums….I like drums. There is nothing more satisfying than releasing all of your pent-up energy and stress out onto your drum kit after a busy day/week. I used to do quite a bit of gigging and freelance stuff (in theatres etc), but Covid-19 has had a huge impact on that unfortunately.

Although for me, playing the drums isn’t my livelihood, I do have a number of friends who work in the entertainment industry. Music and performing is just a means of escapism for me, but for a lot of people, it is a livelihood. So, after what has been a torrid 18 months or so for this sector, I want to give a shout out to all those in the industry who haven’t been able to work. Music, gigs, shows etc bring a huge amount of joy to so many people and I am so glad things are returning to normal for all those affected.

Have you always been interested in numbers and can you remember your first calculator?

No…I wanted to be rock star – legitimately, I thought I would make it. And now I’m sitting here answering the question “can you remember your first calculator”, so we all know how that turned out. My dad was an accountant with a small practice in Stoke-on-Trent and he offered me the chance to work for him during the summer one year. I thought to myself “That will pay for a few cymbals and a new snare drum”…turns out I was better with tax and numbers than I was with the whole rock star thing….so here I am!

So the calculator – I won’t lie, I really don’t remember, and to be honest I’m quite proud of myself for not remembering!

Tell us something that not many people know about you?

I once went Tenpin bowling with Jeremy Beadle.

How has your practice benefited from being part of the Lifecycle accountancy network?

We are relatively new to the network, but we are already seeing the significant benefits from being part of Lifecycle. The services provided are vast, and the access to various sector specialisms will only help to add value to our client base.

The CPD offering on some of your webinars has also been extremely relevant and the shared knowledge within the network will hopefully provide a great resource for us moving forward. There is still a lot more for me to investigate within the network, but so far so good!!

Find out more about the Lifecycle network at www.lclifecycle.co.uk or get in touch on 03300 242 333.

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