Brendon Howlett, director, Wood and Disney - what did you want to be when you grew up?

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As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no burning ambition, I was far too sensible! My mum said all I wanted to do was to learn - whether it was numbers, words, animals, cars - I just soaked it up like a sponge.

When did you move into accountancy: why, and how?

I completed my studies, including university, and was out in the wide world…so what next? A real crossroads for me as I lost my Dad at that time. He had mentioned accountancy - at first I thought “it’s just numbers’… before I knew it I had five offers on the table and things took off.

How important is accounting in your role - and how has being an accountant helped you develop in your career and as a person?

In those early days it was all about the technical skills and the numbers. But the last ten years has seen such technological advance that we have the opportunity to connect with people - building relationships and interpreting the numbers. Helping them understand and get to the next level.

When I worked at a Big Four firm, there were people who were technically excellent but couldn’t really connect with people - that may well come with experience for some, but you have to realise that the information needs to be translated into a language your clients can understand.

Catch the full article in the XU Magazine here

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