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Welcome to Small Change, a weekly catch-up with an accountant in practice to find out their daily routine and ask them about the biggest trends in the profession.
Luke Metson has recently been made to a partner at London-based accounting firm CBW. Not only does Metson’s promotion marks a milestone in his 13 years working within CBW’s general practice team and as director of general practice, but it’s also an excuse for Metson to speak with the Small Change team.
Joining Metson as a new partner at CBW is Steve Bilby, who is the firm’s business development director. These two promotions brings the Top 50 firm’s partner numbers to 23.
Metson sits on a number of internal ICAEW committees, has written for the ICAEW’s ‘Audit and Beyond’, is a fellow of the ACCA and according to this week's Small Change, he is still a proud owner of his first calculator. Metson also discusses advisory services and being compared to Ben Affleck.
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What is the first thing you do when you start your day?
That's quite easy. I am first in so I turn on the coffee machine, drink some coffee and clear the overnight emails.
Have many cups of coffee do you get through in a day?
I probably have about thirty a day!
Do you check your emails outside office hours?
My phone is on 24/7 primarily because we have a lot of international clients. They could be calling at any time of the day. My phone goes absolutely everywhere with me, the exception being the gym.
On that note, what do you do to escape the world of tax and accounts?
Gym, boxing, throwing some weights around, punching a punch bag, rugby - I'm a Saracens season ticket holder.
Do you find punching the punch bag therapeutic after a stressful day in the office?
It definitely keeps you calm and relaxed. You go home with fewer concerns.
What are you and your firm doing to ensure you have a work-life balance?
We, obviously like in any profession, like the staff to work hard but we understand the pressures that can come with that. So we do simple things like staff and corporate entertaining, firm drinks on a Thursday or Friday, and we try to make it as relaxed an environment as possible whilst still maintaining that good old culture.
What's been the biggest change in the profession since you qualified?
Firstly, it has to be technology, whether that's manual accounting through to current day such as artificial intelligence and Making Tax Digital.
Every day decisions are now made in real-time and MTD is only going to make informed decisions easier. We'll be able to give advisory and bespoke advice rather than simply compliance.
And another big change is in management styles of the 80s and 90s through to the emotional intelligence of leaders today.
What do you think your job will look like in five-to-ten years time?
It's very topical with MTD, but I believe very strongly that the future of the accountancy profession is advisory. The compliance will dissipate in the future, particularly in the next five years. We may see smaller firms exiting the market and mid-tier firms providing predominantly advisory or transactional support.
Ralph memorial question: Do you remember your first calculator?
Yes because it's sitting on my desk. My 1998 Casio is still in use every day.
Who is your favourite fictional accountant?
Not my favourite fictional accountant, but the one I've been compared to is Ben Affleck because I do drive the exact same truck that he does in The Accountant. It's an American pick-up truck.
But I can't say my job as an accountant is similar to the accountant in the film - he's a money launderer (laughs).