Barry trained with a City of London practice where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Adviser and became a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Subsequently he joined George Hay and became responsible for establishing the Tax Department, which he still heads. He became a Partner in the firm in 1990 and was instrumental in establishing the firm’s Huntingdon office in 1994. In April 2020, Barry became Senior Partner.
Barry advises on the complete range of taxes, although he particularly enjoys Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and property and land transactions. He is the head of our Agricultural team and a Director of GH Probate Ltd.
Q1. In what is your 32nd year with George Hay, you have recently taken over as Senior Partner. What have you enjoyed most about your career, how has the firm changed and what are you most looking forward to as you step into the Senior Partner shoes?
The most enjoyable part has been meeting so many different people, be it colleagues, contacts or clients. Every day is different, and it is most unusual to see a day pan out as intended. Being able to work with and help people really adds to the enjoyment. People always ask how the firm has changed but I prefer to focus on what has stayed the same, providing a quality personal service to all our clients. It is obviously an honour to become senior partner, but I have never been one for titles. It is what you do that counts.
Q2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Decisive, direct, empathetic
Q3. As George Hay’s resident ‘Quizmaster’, if you were to take part in an episode of Mastermind, what would your specialist subject be?
Probably the History of Scouting with London Buses for the semi-final.
Q4. Describe George Hay in one word?
Simply the best (I never have been any good with numbers!!)
Q5. Tell us one thing we’d find on your bucket list?
An Ashes tour in Australia.
Q6. Your profile clearly illustrates your love of tax! What is it that differentiates Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and property and land transactions as those you most enjoy advising on?
The advantage of the capital taxes is that they usually involve planning opportunities. It is a chance to advise clients and structure transactions to ensure that tax is mitigated. Obviously, the planning must be legal and acceptable, but it is an opportunity to really get the brain working and use my years of experience to benefit our clients. That is why tax is fun!
Q7. Though summer holidays are on hold for now, where is your favourite place in the UK to visit/holiday?
Somewhere with good countryside, such as the Lake District and North Yorkshire Moors. My only criteria is that I must be able to walk to a pub as I cannot do that from where I live.
Q8. What advice would you give to anybody wanting to pursue a career in tax and accountancy?
I have enjoyed it. It is not enough to just pass the exams, to be a fully-fledged accountant you must work hard and immerse yourself in your occupation.
Q9. If you could only eat one meal every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cheese & Biscuits with added cheese!
Q10. Last year, the Huntingdon office celebrated its 25th anniversary and the practice its 80th anniversary. What do you attribute the firm’s longevity to?
I can refer you back to question 1. At George Hay we have always been committed to providing a personal service for our clients and working with them in their business or on their personal financial affairs. The modus operandi may have changed with say computerisation, but the focus of excellence hasn’t.