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Practice Talk: Zeeshan Hussain from Foxley Kingham

Zeeshan Hussain, a partner at Foxley Kingham, joins Practice Talk this week to discuss his medical sector specialism, his morning cup of tea, and his knackered knees.

21st Oct 2019
Practice Editor AccountingWEB
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Zeeshan Hussein
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Back in April this year, Zeeshan Hussain joined the Foxley Kingham board of directors. It’s not bad for someone who says their start in accountancy was purely accidental. Hussain left university with ambitions of getting into banking but then came across a job advertisement in the local newspaper for the firm which was five minutes from where he lived.

In the 15 years since, Hussain has carved a niche for himself within the medical sector, where he personally looks after around 120-130 medical clients. His interest in all things medical hasn’t waned since his trainee days as the constant change in the sector, from NHS pensions to taxes, always keeps him on his toes.

Funnily enough, Hussain actually considered going down the medical route in his junior years. But he realised early on that he wasn’t cracked up to wear the stethoscope. “I am afraid of blood,” he joked. “It wouldn't have worked if I was a surgeon and I would have been fainting every two minutes. So my route now is an indirect way of working with GPs.”

Zeeshan Hussain's typical working day

I can't do early mornings. Since Foxley Kingham, has flexible hours, a few start at 7.30am and then go home at 4pm. I try my best to get in for 9am, but I usually arrive around 9.15am. As accountants, our main asset is our staff. I make sure they feel appreciated so I spend five-to-ten minutes first thing with them. Then it's on to the work.

The first 10 – 15 minutes is always clearing out emails. I've got emails on my phone so I try and answer many queries as I go along. By 9.30am I've had my cup of tea and a couple of biscuits and I'm ready for the day.

A lot of my time is juggling being an accountant and a director. I still do accounts review work. It takes about 10-12 hours to look at a normal medical practice accounts because there is so much involved. I probably do a couple of practices a week and then fit it in with other tasks. Because it is my first year as a director I am still the main contact for most of my clients. Most though say 'now that you're director I guess we can't call you as much because it is going to cost us more!'

As a director, I also do non-chargeable work. The firm is expanding and going to new premises and it is surprising how much involvement is needed. We're looking at a new telephone system, internet connection, furniture etc... So a lot of my time, along with the other directors, is trying to get this office set up.   

I stop working at 12.30pm on the dot. I make myself a cup of tea and have a half-an-hour lunch at my desk. I might put something on the internet or on my phone and have half an hour shut down. I have an open-door policy, so someone might come up and ask a question.

I also tend to have a cup of tea about 10ish and then another at 3pm. It's not strict but these are my break times. Our policy is as long as you get the work done, if you need a break, then have it. My daughter comes back from nursery around 11.30 so I try my best to FaceTime her and have a catch-up. 

I usually finish at around 5.30pm - 6pm. If there is something pressing that I haven't done I might do half an hour from home. When we get near December/January there is a bit more weekend work because we have tax returns to do. That is the hard part because my daughter is four and I want to give her a lot of time.

Having fixed hours, though, means when I come home I can turn off and spend time with the little one and my wife. I have emails on my phone which my wife doesn't tend to like. When it buzzes I can't help myself and always look at it. 

My main passion outside work is football. I play at least five-to-six five-a-side games a week. The problem I now find as I've almost hit 40 is the knees aren't what they used to be. I play a couple of hours and it takes until 1am to get into bed because I can't move.

I am now looking for a new hobby that doesn't involve using your knees or legs.

Saturdays are set aside a day for family time. I spend the whole time with them and try not to look at football scores as that depresses me. Unsurprisingly, my phone battery lasts much longer now.