We were excited to host Simon Preston, Group Finance Director of family owned conglomerate J. & J. Denholm. Simon, who is also a board member of the Group, is set to become the company’s CFO early in 2021 and has progressed his career significantly since joining the business in 2005. During the online seminar, Simon reflected on the value of individuals taking responsibility for their own career progression and the importance of choosing an employer that supports that progression.
Simon described with great enthusiasm the range of work he has been exposed to at J. & J. Denholm. Despite turning over in excess of £200m in their latest set of accounts, the Glasgow Head Office team is relatively lean and this has provided him the opportunity to be involved in acquisitions and to work with numerous different parts of the business at various stages of his career.
Simon also spoke very positively about those he has worked alongside and how he has learned a great deal from others in the business. In fact, developing an interest and understanding of the commercial context around financial reporting early on in his career has played a significant role in Simon’s career progression.
Finally, Simon reflected on key attributes that help an accountant thrive in their career:
- In order to progress it is vital that an accountant is able to communicate effectively, not just with other accountants, but with a range of stakeholders and this must be the case not just orally, but in reports produced also.
- Simon also spoke about the importance of being in a role with the right culture and values for the individual. He is aware that many bright individuals do not fulfil their potential by being in the wrong environment. Furthermore as a manager, when trying to build a good team it is pivotal that you hire people who will buy into the ethos of the business.
- Finally the accountants who continue to progress in their careers are those who maintain the highest level of attention to detail and seek feedback to build on strengths and develop areas of weakness.
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