We are extremely pleased to introduce Stephen Howard. Stephen, or Steve as he likes to be known, has been appointed as Manager, Business Services. We sat down with Steve to find out a little more about him, his style and what we can expect working with him. Thanks, Steve and welcome to the team.

  1. What led you to join McPhail & Partners?

After working in various different sized firms over the last 11 years, I was looking for something that was small enough to have the personal connections between staff and the clients that often gets lost in some of the bigger firms; but also, somewhere that had the right potential to be able to grow in the longer term

  1. What qualifications do you have?

I hold a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) from RMIT University. I’m also a CPA and a registered tax agent

  1. What is your role at McPhail & Partners?

I am a manager in the business services/tax side of the business, so I assist the directors of the firm with managing client’s day-to-day affairs and ensure we’re being proactive and engaged with them regularly and to make sure their accounting needs are always met.

  1. What qualities do you think it takes to be a leader in today’s ever-changing world?

I think leaders today require an open mind and the ability to think outside the square. As technology continues to evolve, the way things were done in the past is no longer efficient or necessarily best practice. Good leaders today need to be able to continue to move with the times and not get stuck doing things in certain ways because that’s what has always been done. It’s also important for leaders to be in touch with those that report to them and allow them to have a voice in relation to how things should be done. A lot of big corporations have seen great ideas come from people well below the top of the food chain

  1. What three words would you use to describe the team at McPhail & Partners?

Friendly, community-minded, professional

  1. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

The great thing about public practice accounting is those typical days don’t really exist. You might have a plan as to what you are going to do and then a client calls with an urgent matter and things get shuffled around. One day you might be working on a cash flow for a client, so they can get finance; the next you might be working on tax returns and the day after that might be dealing with the ATO regarding a client’s affairs. The variety of work keeps things interesting

  1. Who do you admire and why?

I admire any professional sportsperson who is in the public eye while being at the top of their sport. In our world, the continual legislative and technological changes make staying at the top of your game hard. Professional athletes have to be at the top of their game, maintain peak performance, train etc. all while being subject to media scrutiny & social media commentary from people who have never played professionally themselves. The fact that so many of them can stay at the top of their games for so long despite everything they have said about them is quite amazing.

  1. The world is changing so fast, how do you remain up to date at work?

We just need to make as much time as we can to attend seminars to keep ourselves up to date with new legislation and rules etc. The methods of delivery have improved significantly over the years so keeping up to date isn’t as difficult as it seems. Often there are webinars, email newsletters and other forms of communication that can be accessed from anywhere.

  1. What can the team at McPhail & Partners expect from you and why?

My focus is always around exceeding client expectations – M & P can expect a client-focused approach to all engagements I’m a part of.  My view is that as accountants we need to take on more than just a “number cruncher” role; we need to become our clients’ trusted advisor. That might mean simply listening to their goals and concerns and assisting put them into action; it might mean being a broker of sorts and introducing them to other professionals such as lawyers; sometimes it might involve being a counsellor of sorts. By being that trusted advisor allows us to be integrated into the client’s affairs fully and allows servicing opportunities that may not exist otherwise.