Claire, a partner based in our Biggleswade office, is responsible for advising a varied portfolio of SME businesses and individuals on general accounting and taxation matters.
Claire joined George Hay in 1987 and is an experienced accountant who, prior to being appointed as a partner, was the Practice Manager for George Hay looking after the development of the practice and providing support to the Partners.
Q1. Having been with George Hay for 32 years this year, and having been appointed as partner in April, can you tell us how your role has evolved in your time with the firm, how the practice has changed and what you are enjoying most about in your new role as partner?
My role has changed a number of times over my years with the practice. I started out as an accounts trainee, before becoming an assistant to the tax partner and manager at our Huntingdon office.
It was while I was in this role, that I was asked to be the practice manager. This signalled a big change in my career, as I took on responsibility for the practice accounts and the day-to-day running of the firm. Though extremely rewarding, the one thing I did begin to miss was the client contact.
Having now been appointed as a Partner, moving back into a client facing position has made me realise how much I did always enjoy it. I enjoy meeting such a diverse range of people and no one client is the same, which means no one day is the same!
As for how the practice has changed, probably the most significant change is the use of IT in the industry. Despite the pace with which technological advancements are made, I have always felt that George Hay are ahead of the game, grasping opportunities to enhance the services that we offer.
Q2. Describe yourself in three words?
Approachable, diligent, & meticulous
Q3. Food heaven and food hell?
Heaven – cake is my biggest downfall; in particular, lemon drizzle or chocolate.
Hell – I’m slightly torn here, but I think it has to be liver.
Q4. Describe George Hay in one word?
Q5. Tell us about the best holiday you’ve ever been on and one place you’d love to visit?
The best holiday ever has to be the one I have just had. To celebrate a special birthday, I went on Safari in Kenya followed by a stay in Zanzibar (which was like paradise!).
I’d love to visit Vienna and the Spanish Riding School to see the training of the Lipizzaner horses.
Q6. What motivated you to pursue a career in accountancy?
My mum – she thought I was good at maths and suggested it to me as a career.
Q7. Tell us one fun/interesting fact about yourself that we might not already know?
I was part of the Biggleswade Carnival Court in (I think) 1987!
Q8. We know you’re a bit of an animal-lover, given that you have two spaniels and a horse, but if you could be any animal for just one day, what would you be and why?
Maybe my dog, Tilly, I would just love to know what goes through her head at times; that and she has boundless energy.
Q9. With George Hay celebrating its 80th year in business this year, what do you think is the secret to our longevity?
The wonderful staff we have here; a lot of people have been here a long time and really care about the service we give to our clients. We are lucky to have some very talented people, who have a huge knowledge that you would generally associate with a larger practice.
Q10. What three things would we find at the top of your bucket list?
I covered one earlier (Vienna), but I’d also love to see the Northern Lights and ride around Burghley, although my horse-riding skills are a little way off the standard required for that.