When I joined EY in 2001 as a fresh-faced graduate, the One FSO concept didn’t exist, and the FS practice was only about 60 people across audit and tax, and no advisory services! I was not the type of person who had my career planned out in my early 20s, and certainly didn’t have my sights on becoming a partner at that stage of my career. I remember signing my training contract, which ended on 30 April 2005 and thought I was signing my life away! There is often an element of luck involved in career success, by being in the right place at the right time, and being willing to take a chance as opportunities present themselves. This applies equally to me.
There are particular events in my career that stand out to me.
At various points over the last 16 years I have considered whether it was time to move on from EY, but conversations with peers and other colleagues set me back on course, helped me find a new direction or a new challenge to keep me interested.
For me, many of the aspects that attracted me to EY, and kept me here post-qualification, are still part of the culture of EY today, the openness, accessibility of senior people, and the commitment to the People agenda. Other aspects are unrecognisable from my early days, including the FSO/host model and Pan-European connectivity, and the pace of change we are experiencing now in terms of Innovation and adapting to new ways of working.
As my children get older they need less care in some ways, but they equally need my time and attention, to help with homework, to bring them to activities, or just to hear all the day’s events first hand. I have always felt supported by EY in this respect, and never felt it was an issue to take time to attend a school concert, care for a sick child or simply go home on time. In my view, this is no different to what any of the Dads in our teams should expect, or people caring for elderly or sick family members or other personal commitments. That is often easier said than done when working in an environment centred on client service and meeting deadlines, and there are certainly periods when I feel I don’t have the right balance.
So to finally receive “the call”, in my case from Marcel Van Loo in May 17, to hear I was successful in my ambition to become a EY partner is a moment I will always remember. The relief, joy and sense of achievement were fantastic, definitely a time to celebrate. I am immensely proud to say I am a partner in EY.
It’s still early days but so far my life hasn’t changed dramatically since becoming a partner, nor did I expect it to. Through the final stages of IPP, there is lots of discussion of how becoming a partner is a transition, and I do feel that I am very much in the transition phase. Other people’s perception of me, both clients and colleagues, is different, magnified. I probably don’t yet fully appreciate just how much of a difference that is, so that will continue to be an adjustment. Partnership brings its own challenges, with additional responsibility and accountability in running the firm’s business. But it also gives me the freedom to make my own mark on our business and our clients, which is what excites me most about this next stage of my career.
I will finish with some advice to others who have ambitions to become a partner: