These new roles are as much about the future as the present. All three of them reflect a determination to keep doing things the right way as we grow. The start of a Tax Associate programme to bring through the next generation of tax managers, industry expertise to back up a market leading tax team, and a role dedicated to quality of service through business process. We differentiate from our competitors on quality and in their own way, each of these roles demonstrates that. Simon Brown, Managing Director
Harnessing the expertise of a Digital Specialist
Philip Clarke is a heavyweight appointment on the technical side of our business. With the digital sector such an important part of the UK economy, Phil has been brought in to provide technical support to our tax team when handling these claims.
Phil’s career began in the mid-90s, initially as a coder with global systems company Logica. Since then he has evolved through architecting and managing digital teams and projects to consulting. He has picked up vast experience along the way, particularly in managing the specification, building and delivery of robust digital platforms for big companies like Sky, Sainsbury’s and Honda.
These have often been back end projects that do the legwork crucial to a company’s operations. One notable and spectacular exception was Phil’s involvement in the Red Bull Stratos website. This flagship project showcased the breath-taking supersonic freefall of Felix Baumgartner from the edge of space back to earth in 2012.
At its peak, the website that Phil’s team delivered coped with 22 million visitors in just a few hours. To provide some context (if required), overall, the Stratos project feed broke YouTube records. As well as the scalability of the site, it also had to be flexible enough to give Red Bull control to modify or shut it down almost instantly should anything go wrong with the mission. With only one shot at it and the World watching, the whole project was extremely successful.
With experience working in-house for large companies, on his own venture and for digital agencies, Phil’s knowledge of the digital sector will be a major asset to ForrestBrown and our clients.
The next logical step for me would probably have been as another technical director at a digital agency or a strategy or technical management position at a large firm. However, I could not think of any role where I would get to work with so many other tech companies and help them with their innovative projects. I’m very excited to be joining the ForrestBrown team, and applying my experience to helping them and their clients grow.
Phil’s role is a new one and we are confident it will add real value to our clients in many different ways.
Millie McNeill: Our new Tax Associate
Millie McNeill has joined the firm in the role of Tax Associate. This new junior position has been created so that ForrestBrown can offer talented, motivated candidates an entrance to the tax world and a clear career path towards more senior positions. Mentoring and support with qualifications is part of the package, which will be partly delivered through our internal training programme: The Learning Lab.
Millie, expected to be the first of many Tax Associates, already has five years of personal taxation under her belt, and is on the verge of completing her AAT qualification. She is looking forward to kicking on and achieving the ATT and then CTA qualifications with the support of ForrestBrown. She has also worked on tax investigations including attending tribunal hearings.
I’m excited about the path ahead at ForrestBrown. Joining as a Tax Associate gives me the chance to gain my tax qualifications whilst helping some fascinating companies grow with R&D tax credits. I can see how ForrestBrown help their employees fly by giving them the support to develop professionally and the opportunity to progress. I have previously been responsible for looking after 360 of my own personal taxation clients and customer service is very important to me. Now I can apply this in an R&D tax credit context.
Outside of work, Millie is an avid West Brom fan. As well as watching the Baggies, she plays football regularly, and netball. She is also into mountain biking and marshals a few times a year at Mountain Bike Marathons around the UK.
Managing our growth with a Business Process Manager
Our third new recruit in July is Natalie Watts, our Business Process Manager.
We created this role to proactively manage our rapid growth and ensure that our quality of service – which is a fundamental part of our offering – does not slip. Natalie’s role will be to review and challenge current processes with the goal of optimising everything we do.
While her work will predominantly go on behind the scenes, clients will see a tangible benefit through consistently high quality interactions with us. So many companies struggle to stick to their values and service levels as they grow. This is a pitfall we are determined to avoid.
Natalie has worked in operations and project management for a number of companies, including start-ups and larger corporates. She lived in London for seven years before escaping to the country after her daughter was born. While she loved the energy and vibe of London she doesn’t miss it and now feels Bristol makes a good substitute. She enjoys spending time with her family and, when she can, trail running in the countryside.
Looking in from the outside, it’s easy to see that ForrestBrown is a fantastic success story. I look forward to helping them in my new role, so they can keep doing what they do, no matter how big they grow!