Practice Talk: Kaaeed Mamujee, M Cubed and CABA president
Joining Practice Talk to talk about a typical working day is the new president of CABA and the founding partner of Leicester-based M Cubed, Kaaeed Mamujee.
With over 27 years’ experience as a chartered accountant, Mamujee has taken up the role of CABA president. Mamujee wants to use his presidency to further break down the stigma surrounding mental health and highlight the importance of employee wellbeing.
Mental health and wellbeing are such big issues in the profession. You only have to regularly read this feature and you’ll see the same issues crop up again and again. Previous interviewees have admitted to checking emails before their head hits the pillow and the pressures of instant client communication has resulted in others having a breakdown.
“It's worrying but not surprising,” Mamujee told AccountingWEB. “If you've got your own business you want to keep clients happy and give them the service they need. But for most SMEs, accounting and finance is the last thing they think about at the end of the day at 5-7pm or at the weekends when they've got the space. And that is generally when we get called upon.”
Working as both in practice and industry, Mamujee is well aware of the pressures working as an accountant. He trained with KPMG and then left a shortly after qualifying to spend 16 years in industry including as a financial controller for multinationals such as United Biscuits. He returned to practice to set up M Cubed with his brother.
But his other roles with the ICAEW have also informed his work with CABA. At one point he sat on the appeals committee for the ICAEW on the disciplinary side and saw first-hand how accountants can fall on hard times. “A lot of the times were people who got themselves into a bit of mess and for whatever reason things got out of hand and there was a shortfall in the level of professional standards that were required.”
These career experiences have driven Mamujee to give back to the profession. “I've felt very fortunate in the opportunities chartered accountancy has given me, both professionally and personally. So if we help a chartered accountant get back on their feet we are not just helping that one individual, but we are also helping four or five other people in their family.”
Mamujee talked to AccountingWEB about his typical working day, and as you can imagine, wellbeing plays such an important role from the moment the alarm clock goes off.
“I'm a morning person. I get up between 5am and 6am every morning. I try and practice what CABA preaches because I never have time at the other end of the day. My ideal routine is to do a half an hour workout from home and then my reward for doing that physical exercises is a nice cup of tea.
Because my mind is always trying to race ahead, I take 10-15mins in the morning to still my mind and be really happy and be thankful for all the good things in my life. Even if it is just looking out the window, looking at the birds, looking at the squirrels or whatever is happening in the garden. It's appreciating the little things.
I found my old routine was to get up, watch the news and immediately your stress levels are going up. By doing that you just start the day off anxious. I now make a conscious effort not to listen to the news until I sit in the car and even then, I try to listen to an audible book on my 20-minute commute in.
First thing, I will sit down and plan my day ahead. I normally do a weekly plan and a daily plan. Weekly, I normally sit down on a Sunday night or Monday morning and plan what's got to be delivered and any pinch points. The daily plan then is just confirmation or if something has cropped up.
About 30-40% of the day is spent meeting clients or talking to them on the phone. Again, a lot of client communication is happening electronically or on the phone rather than face-to-face. Once you get to know the client to easier to pick up the phone and have a discussion.
Breaks? No, I probably go straight through. Once I am here I am pretty much in work mode until I leave. I'll have a sandwich but I don't do what you should do, which is get up and go for a walk. But I sit at my desk and catch up with the news of the day online.
When I finish work at around 6pm I try to switch off. I don't have email notifications on my phone. I tell clients that they can ring me after work and at weekends but I'm not going to promise that I will answer it. If I feel like it and it is convenient I will do so. But if it has been a full-on day and the tank is on empty, you are not going to get the best out of me. So I say to clients especially if their query is knotty or thorny that I am not at best at the moment, do you mind if we talk about it in the morning.
Working with CABA is a great escape from the day job. I do quite a bit of charitable work, CABA is the main one but not the only one. I that refreshes me for when I come back to the day job. I really enjoy doing one of my voluntary work. Apart from that I really enjoy walking, hiking, a bit of photography and being with family and friends.”