Practice Talk: Richard Hepburn from Gorilla Accounting


Joining Practice Talk this week is Richard Hepburn, the operations manager at Gorilla Accounting. He talks about his daily routine and the Bolton-based firm's fast growth.

18th Nov 2019
Editor AccountingWEB
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‘Am I too old to start a career in accountancy?’ It’s a common question often posted on AccountingWEB’s Any Answers forum. Only this month, a reader pondered whether they were over the hill aged 25. More often than not, the community responds with “It’s never too late”.

Richard Hepburn broke into accounting when he was approaching 30. Before that, he did several jobs. He worked on a golf course, warehouse jobs and in Tesco. “I hadn't found something that I wanted to focus on,” he told AccountingWEB. Then along came accountancy.

Hepburn was able to study towards his accounting qualification alongside his job. “You can start with a junior accounting job and you keep moving on in accounting.” 

And he’s kept moving on. Since joining Gorilla Accounting, Hepburn has moved up the ranks as the contractor-specialist has grown. “The firm has grown quickly. When I started just over three years ago there were five in the accounting team and now we've got 30. As the company has progressed, I've moved along.” 

His role now is mainly managerial, dealing mainly with advising the firm's accountants and supporting them with training. 

Richard Hepburn's typical working day

I usually check over emails before I leave in the morning and spend a bit of time in the evening to see what I've got coming the next day. I always have breakfast and then try and get in to work for around 8.30am. 

We usually start the morning with a management catch-up when we arrive. Every Monday, the management team, the marketing team, and new business get together to discuss what happened in the previous week and our plans for the week. I find that is a good start for the week. 

Planning out my day... I will have things scheduled in. I'll go out and meet with agencies and I work on our new business team on enquiries. We've got 30 in the accounting team so my role is to advise them if any queries come in that they're not sure about or if there are any issues that come in. So other things come up as the day progresses.

I always have lunch and, weather permitting, I will go for a walk too. It's nice to just get out and away from the office for a bit. Because we're based in an office and retail park just out of the town centre there are shops nearby. 

I tend to leave emails once I’m in work and then pick them up later in the day. It’s so I don't get sucked into responding to emails for the entire day. I can, instead, work on things that I have scheduled, whether that's meetings or going out to see people or training sessions with the accountants in the team. 

I don't finish too late. Depending on what I've got on, I'll finish around 5pm or sometimes I'll be there until 6pm and lock up the office. But we don't tend to stay later than 6pm. When I get home, I take it in turns with my wife on who’s cooking that day, depending on what she's doing with work. 

Work after hours... I do check my emails from time to time but it depends if I am doing something with the family - then I won't. Sometimes when I am sat on the couch having a cup of tea I'll get the iPad out and have a quick look. I usually wouldn't respond unless I am expecting something. But generally, it's just to see if any surprises have popped up and if there is anything I need to prioritise for the next day.”

Did you miss Richard on AccountingWEB's No Accounting for Taste podcast? You can still listen by clicking the play button below. Richard joined fellow guest Tessa Hebditch to talk IR35, what the off-payroll clampdown means for contractor clients and ethics in the profession.



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