Barry James

Tax Manager

How have you put up with Michael for so long? 
It’s been easy! I think I share Michael’s resilience and appetite for problem solving, and also his ability to deal with anything clients decide to throw at us. We may not agree on everything (it took me 8 years to convince him to let me grow a beard), but we get on; everyone’s opinion counts and I’ve always felt involved in the business. It also helps that we share a mutual passion for cycling!

What has been your biggest achievement at Leathers? 
There have been some big 'wins' in a work sense, and we’ve delivered some fantastic work for our clients, the likes of which I’m sure wouldn’t look out of place in a big 4 firm in London. But being part of the team which continues to cycle for charity, raising money for amazing causes, has to be up there. If I wasn’t at Leathers, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to better myself personally and help those less fortunate than me.

How do you solve problems amongst the team?
We have a very collaborative approach; we often throw tax problems out into the open forum of the office to bounce ideas around. We have some brilliant tax brains in the team. People may disagree on certain points, and we have debates, but it’s all to make sure the client is getting the best service. If disagreements really can’t be ironed out, we have a boxing ring in the board room to allow things to be settled once and for all.

What’s your favourite or most hated misconception about accountants and tax advisers?
That we either are the dreaded tax man or we help multinationals illegally avoid tax. The general public see sensationalised stories in the press and on TV and it gives the profession a bad name. There’s a whole separate moral question to be answered there however, we try to keep things simple, and use our collective knowledge and experience to help our clients; too often the basics are overlooked.

What do you do when you aren’t being a tax adviser?
Tax never sleeps. It’s been said tax advisers think about tax every 7 seconds. So that, I think about tax. And I cycle.

If you hadn’t worked in finance, what might you have done?
Professional darts player and/or stand-up comedian.

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