Experienced FCCA with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Technology, Team Building, Management, Leadership, and Programming. Strong entrepreneurial professional graduate from Liverpool University
SKILLS AND EXPERTISE
Complex Analysis + Project Management + Business Planning + ROI Forecasting + Application Development + Programming + Innovating + Problem Solving + Accounting + Entrepreneur + Always Curious
QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION
ASSOCIATION OF CHARTERED CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANTS
THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL, UK
BSc with Honours in Marine Biology 1984 - 1987
RUTHIN SCHOOL, NORTH WALES, UK
3 A' Levels (Biology B, Chemistry C and Physics D) 1976 - 1984
1 OA' Level (C)
10 O' Levels (2 A's, 6 B's, 2 C's)
Varied (2018 - date)
When I am asked, at dinner parties and such, what it is that I have been up to recently, the answer varies from "this and that", to trying to explain what an angel investor is, to referring the inquisitive to my blog.
I think my blog provides a useful insight into what I have been up to recently and I try to update it regularly. I am very much into my paragliding and am able to indulge myself because I am no longer
"a slave to the money [then you die ...]". I am also continually seeking new working challenges but these have to be on my terms, as illustrated perhaps by this entry in my blog from 2018.
Investor, Finance Director and Chief Technology Officer (2016 - 2018)
This is an ambitious start-up offering a retail shopping app at Jisp.com. Having developed my own cloud accounting platform (the "full stack!") and programmed some simple calculator apps for Android and IoS, I wanted to combine this experience with the dynamism of a tech start-up environment. Combining both FD and CTO roles was also very useful in helping the company raise significant tax credits over multiple tax years. As the finance function (the parent company has raised and spent circa £2m up to May 2017) eventually dominated the tech function, I felt it was time to move on to my next project. I still have a great relationship with the energetic and multi-talented CFO of Jisp, one Julian Fisher, and still join the weekly briefing conferences with the team in St Petersburg when I am able to. Who knows; Julian may succeed in creating his "facebook of retail". I hope he does.
Various Endeavours (2000 - date)
In early 2000 the risk of my chosen career path culminated in striking out on my own with an old colleague, the Taxation Director (“AJ”) from WCS, who is also a qualified accountant and a genius taxation expert; a skill at least partly attributable to his bipolar disorder which was diagnosed part way through our long relationship. Our combined skill sets – his taxation, mine technology – presented a synergistic opportunity for us both.
Whilst I had been contracting in Mauritius and elsewhere, AJ had been working with Ernst and Young (“EY”) on a tax product, owned by Westwood Consultancy, a company owned by myself and Alan, aimed at contractors working in the UK that would become subject to a collective taxes arrangement colloquially known as “IR35”. Falling out with EY, and having to successfully defend ourselves against a contempt of court petition arising from an ex-parte injunction, preventing us from promoting our own product, set the scene nicely for what followed.
So, fresh from the frying pan, in May 2001 AJ and I became involved in new commercial litigation, with a different protagonist, one Edward Watkin Gittins, over a disputed tax planning scheme. This litigation, which lasted for over 14 years (it was settled in October 2015) became a challenging new project for us both and one that, bizarrely, I miss now that it is all over. Needless to say I learnt a lot of law, and about the Manx legal establishment. I am proud, in conjunction with AJ, to have been the first to set (successful for us) case law precedent in respect of costs and non-parties to litigation under Rule s7.29 of the High Court, despite my very learned and expensive QC’s initial opinion that we wouldn’t be successful. If you are so inclined you can read about it here.
In 2003, I had successfully completed programming of a cloud accounting platform (that I still use for my personal accounting needs), that culminated in an offering of cloud accounting services to small to medium sized businesses. AJ and I had a vision that we could get to where the likes of Xero and other online platforms are today.
We also established an IOM FSA licenced fiduciary service provider, Fidei Limited, incorporating distributed (ie., “cloud” based) accounting, document creation, execution, storage and retrieval facility for its trusts, minutes and associated documents, allowing settlors/clients access to their documents via the internet (another full stack development apparently).
Prior to my litigation projects, I had enjoyed a commercial property consultancy assignment with Financial Properties Group Limited, pretty much a forensic accounting exercise that required extraction and consolidation of a plethora of complicated commercial property transactions and shareholdings in order to prepare consolidated group accounts and a financial forecast (including liquidity, gearing and yield calculations) for presentations to the Board, shareholders and financiers. The Board were very pleased with the result but didn't enjoy being told how good it was.
Prior to that I had spent some time in Mauritius and France consulting for, E-Trade Solutions Limited. This was an appraisal (technical and financial) of the feasibility of the roll-out of IBM’s Websphere Commerce Suite - Service Provider Edition (and the product itself) to clients of the parent company, initially at an IBM “RedBook” residency in La Gaude, France and subsequently at the clients head office in Mauritius.
This company was one of the first to use this technology in conjunction with Companies House in the UK to enable the online incorporation of, and appointment of officers to, etc., UK private limited companies in England and Wales.
AN INTERESTING COMMERCIAL PROPERTY ENTREPRENEUR
Finance Director (1997 - 2000)
In late 1997, the writing was on the wall that Abbey National, who had bought WCS (see below), were going to relocate WCS to the UK. As I was not prepared to relocate at that time, I had cold called a highly successful local entrepreneur and businessman who had been very active in the public company arena both in the UK and the USA, asking if he needed a Finance Director. His specialism was commercial property development but he was highly entrepreneurial and possessed a wealth of experience in the banking, insurance and corporate finance industries. I thought I might learn something from him. In addition to commercial property planning, financing, acquisition and development, highlights of this tenure were:
• Delivery of database driven commercial websites, when the internet was very young
• Due diligence in respect of a variety of special projects ranging from email encryption, biodegradeable plastic tech to Malaysian oil palm plantations.
WHITECHAPEL CORPORATE SERVICES LIMITED (“WCS”)
Director of Consultancy and Operations (1993 - 1997)
A wholly owned subsidiary of Sedgwick Group plc (subsequently purchased by Abbey National plc), Whitechapel was a “boutique”/specialist tax driven corporate consultancy, with products such as the Dixons Group plc extended warranty scheme and the Whitechapel Car Ownership Scheme ("COS").
These products were targeted at the clients of Sedgwick Group plc, themselves top 100 FTSE plc's. I really enjoyed this job with it’s mix of financial/taxation creativity and multi-disciplinary skill set acquisition and presenting to, and negotiating with, top executives of blue chip companies whilst in my late 20’s/early 30’s.
What I found quite challenging was managing the team of qualified accountants needed to prepare feasibility studies and implement these products upon successful sale to, for example, BP, Reuters, Abbey National, GlaxoSmithKline etc.
Abbey National liked the COS so much that they bought WCS off Sedgwick Group plc. At the time, AJ was Director of Taxation of WCS, having been poached by WCS from one of its clients MEB plc where he was Group Taxation Manager. This was the start of our long and interesting relationship.
SEDGWICK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LIMITED, ISLE OF MAN
Financial Accountant (1991 - 1993)
KPMG, ISLE OF MAN
Trainee Accountant (1988 - 1991)
THE ASSOCIATED TRUST COMPANY LIMITED, ISLE OF MAN
Company Administrator (1988)