Career that adds up for people-person John
Liverpool Echo, 7 July 2012
HELPING the company grow and advising clients on financial concerns all adds up to a dream job for John Elliot.
“Being a partner in a modern, forward-thinking firm like this is very exciting,” said John. “For me, it’s all about being a front for the firm and listening to clients to work out what will best deliver our mutual successes now and in the future.”
John, who became a partner in BWMacfarlane LLP is ambitious to grow with the firm by helping clients more with growth strategies for their business – especially in the current climate when savvy financial advice is even more important to businesses.
“Right now, my focus has to be on helping all of the companies and organisations we work with to survive the current challenging economic climate,” said John.
A real people person, John enjoys helping both clients and staff, saying: “We’re very much a family firm in culture and ethos. Our aim is to make the team feel that and enjoy the benefits of working in such an environment – I think that’s reflected when clients come to visit us. I enjoy that too and pride myself on conducting business with a friendly, approachable manner beyond what perhaps perceptions are of an industry that ultimately deals in facts and figures.”
He continued: “Set against that, you’re invariably managing clients’ emotions because, whilst there is no sentiment in business, a company director’s state of mind is ultimately determined by their profit and loss sheet and their tax liabilities. That’s enough to make anyone emotional!” Helping clients is one of the most rewarding aspects of John’s job, as he explained: “Clients will expect you to be efficient but you will enjoy far greater engagement and longer term relationships with people in our business if you show an empathy with their predicament whilst delivering sound advice.
“Often I find that, as their accountant, I become the person that clients can turn to for support on the vast array of issues facing business owners today, particularly financial concerns.”
As well as providing clients with financial advice, John has been working with colleagues to develop the company since a merger between Bresnan Walsh and Macfarlane+ Co just over a year ago.
“It’s been a challenging yet rewarding period for me and the business since the merger,” he said. “I’ve grown a lot and learnt so much with the team around me. Our biggest success criteria being that, whilst we’re keen to expand, we’ll do it providing we can guarantee to look after our current clients brilliantly. Maintaining that family feel comes with maintaining a high level of client customer service.”
John always wanted to be an accountant, seeing the cash flow difficulties that could be faced at times in his own father’s printing business, and so began his training with a Foundation Certificate in Accountancy at Liverpool Polytechnic (now Liverpool John Moores University). He then qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser and also a Trust and Estate Practitioner, joining PKF and later moving to Baker Tilly.
He seized a not-to-be missed opportunity to join Macfarlane + Co in 2001 and soon became partner, dealing with all aspects of UK taxation for corporate entities, individuals and trusts. The company merged with Bresnan Walsh in 2011 to form BWMacfarlane LLP – now one of the leading chartered accountancy practices in Liverpool.