She specialises in auditing and, in particular, EU LIFE Grant audits which she carries out for charities. Emma is experienced in preparing management accounts and helps SMEs to accurately interpret their financial information.

She also supports businesses of all sizes with statutory work, including completion of corporation tax returns.

Q1. Describe George Hay in one word?


Q2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I love food so this is a difficult one, but I think Fish and Chips from the seaside would probably be my favourite!

Q3. Describe yourself in three words?

Hard working, reliable and friendly.

Q4. Having been with George Hay for almost 15 years, what’s changed about the way we work with our clients, and what’s is it that you enjoy most about your role?

The role of computers has changed a lot in this time; I was trained on manual records whereby everything was handwritten, and we had to check everything casts, whereas these days with the emergence of MTD for VAT, the majority of clients are now using some form of bookkeeping software.

Variety is what I enjoy most about my role; every day is different. I also love being able to get out and about spending time with our clients.

Q5. Name three things we’d find on your bucket list?

Most of mine would involve travel, as I love to see the world. So I would say the top three are:

  1. Stay in a glass igloo in Finland to hopefully see the northern lights.
  2. Travel on of the Orient Express – just to see what all the fuss is about!
  3. Hire an RV and travel along Route 66, from East to West Coast. Our honeymoon incorporated some of the West Coast of America and we had an amazing time, so seeing more of America is a must – however, I’m not sure how much fun it would be these days with a toddler in tow!

Q6. As a key member of our audit team, can you tell us why audit can be such an important tool for businesses and what the differences are between auditing for charities (i.e. EU LIFE Grant Audit) and standard financial auditing?

Financial statements that have been subject to audit improve the credibility of the figures which can be of comfort to any interested parties, which in turn can be beneficial for businesses looking to sell in the near future.

They can also be a useful tool when it comes to implementing ‘best practice’, as they can be of assistance with reviewing and developing internal controls and forward planning.

In terms of the differences, the overriding principle of statutory audits is concluding on whether the financial statements represent a “true and fair” view, and we therefore have to review the wider operations to be able to make informed judgements.

On the other hand, the grant audits we undertake for the likes of the EU etc. tend to be very specific in their requirements; the guidelines typically set out exactly what they want us to review and how the organisation being audited should have dealt with certain transactions. We therefore only tend to concentrate on a particular strand of income or expenditure that is specific to the particular grant we are being asked to review.

Q7. You joined as a Trainee Accountant in 2005 – what motivated you to pursue a career in accountancy and what advice would you give to other young people wanting to get into the industry?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I was in Sixth Form, but I went and did work experience at a local accountancy practice and enjoyed it. I then went and did an evening course of manual bookkeeping and SAGE bookkeeping and have never looked back!

For those looking to pursue a career in accountancy, my advice would be to find somewhere you can work and study at the same time, like an apprenticeship; the on the job training will make the exams much more relatable.

Q8. We know you like running to keep fit! Do you have ambitions to tackle any high-profile sporting events?

I entered the ballot for the London Marathon 2020! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) I didn’t get a place. I will enter again next year, because I would love to complete it.

Q9. In honour of Pancake day (25 Feb), what’s your favourite pancake topping?

Strawberries and Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s what I always have when we go to the Pancake House and it never disappoints!

Q10. In your work with businesses, what’s the one piece of ‘business advice’ you find yourself giving most often?

More recently, I find myself saying “don’t panic”! The conversion to software in order to comply with Making Tax Digital for VAT has caused some people issues, especially when they have always maintained manual records.

Hopefully we have taken away some of that initial panic and made the transition smoother for our clients; they know we are always at the end of the phone if they need us!

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