Alicia Crisp joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson as a graduate trainee at the North London office in 2007, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 2010. Alicia became partner in 2017, at the time the youngest in the firm. Last year she was ranked at number 1 on Accountancy Age’s 35 under 35 ‘Spotlighting Young Talent’. She runs a portfolio of clients with a focus on working with owner managed businesses across London and south Hertfordshire, from new start-ups to long-standing companies.
Having stayed within one firm from trainee to partnership what would you say are some key attributes for people looking to progress their career at MHA?
It’s not all about technical excellence and timesheets, for a firm like MHA, people skills and building relationships are key, be that supporting a trainee, mentoring someone looking for promotion, dealing with a technical client query or networking with referrers and prospects. Each partner is different and will have developed their skills and network to become a key part of the business – whether that is as a portfolio leader or technical advisory expert.
Having an entrepreneurial streak is also useful when it comes to finding solutions to clients’ varying businesses, family set ups and problems, which are often complex.
What do you think makes MHA MacIntyre Hudson a good firm to work for?
The firm is expanding quickly and has big ambitions which means there are great opportunities available and a wide variety of work.
We have a strong emphasis on client contact and care, staff work hard to build an in depth understanding of client needs to ensure that advice given is tailored and relevant. Combined with some top-level specialists we can offer client service to be proud of.
At the same time we are small enough for each individual to be key to our success, the partners here work closely supporting staff. We are keen to share knowledge and experience to ensure people of all levels get involved with clients and build their own relationships. Hard work and a good attitude get recognised and rewarded, everyone has their own level of aspiration which the firm supports with a fantastic internal training programme.
In addition to this we remember that work life balance is key – while there are busy periods we promote participation in sports and social events and always remember family life comes first.
So, what things are you involved with at MHA MacIntyre Hudson outside of client work?
Historically I helped develop and ultimately lead the employee forum, encouraging staff from across the firm to come together to explore ways to create some firmwide initiatives. This included a campaign to introduce charity days across the firm which started this year.
I’m also very keen on encouraging young people into the profession, where I can I attend careers support sessions, offer work experience opportunities as well as provide interview and
CV advice. I think it’s very important that young people looking at the profession see it as a ‘people’ job, as well as one that includes some good technical challenges and varying career prospects. The different routes into both accountancy and tax means the profession really is open to anyone with the right skills and a willingness to work hard.
How many people do you work with and what do you look for in team members?
My immediate team is seven people but the nature of my client base means I regularly work with a whole range of specialists. While I will be with my client every step of the way it is great to know we have people who specialize in everything from complex reconstructions, details of property VAT projects and R&D (to name just a few) who will really take ownership of projects.
I am a firm believer that you get back what you put in, that doesn’t mean that you have to work twelve hours every day of the week, but I want everyone to make the most of the opportunities to learn and develop, it will make people want to invest in you.
Are there different challenges facing those looking for enter the profession compared to when you started and what advice would you share?
Costs of studying are increasing so there is pressure on making the ‘right’ decision while at the same time technology is developing so rapidly – it must be hard to decide what to study. Apprenticeships such as the AAT are a great way to balance getting professional training while earning money.
That said, it is never too late to change your mind or take some time out, accountancy was a last minute career change for me coming out of university and I have never looked back!
The best advice I can give is to be open about who you are and what you value. A key strength in any team is the diversity of skills, abilities and life experiences. Be frank about what you can bring to the table and authentic about what motivates you - while you need to have your interview answers prepped you need to let the interviewer see ‘you’.
Get in touch
If this sounds like an environment where you can flourish, please view our latest vacancies: macintyrehudson.co.uk/ careers
If you can’t see a vacancy that suits your current needs or aspirations, please contact us speculatively by emailing: Leanne.firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our London office at 020 7429 4100