Managing Partner & Business Founder
What made you start Leathers?
Frustration, Economics and Opportunity. I think it is documented elsewhere that I trained at Price Waterhouse. I had just completed a project (personally, I believe one of my best) however, recognition for my work was low, the fee charged was rightly high but when I calculated my hourly value I thought why don’t I just do this for myself? So, with no clients and dogged determination, the story of Leathers began…
So is Leathers' success down to dogged determination; or did you ever feel you had a secret weapon?
Oh absolutely; God! Or perhaps putting it slightly differently, three years at Durham University studying Theology; asking the difficult questions, dealing with how, why, so what and looking at the world with a different perspective. In fact, studying Wittgenstein and Kant is possibly harder than unpicking the Inland Revenue's latest pronouncements.
Somehow that has also translated in to being prepared to ask of clients the difficult questions and deliver difficult messages; I wish I could say I've always got it right and I rely on the team who are very much the other ingredient in our success.
What do you look for in an accountant at Leathers?
Simply put, an ability to analyse the problem. So often the problem is not can I do A to B, but how you would achieve that objective?
What sets Leathers apart?
The great thing is, I don’t even have to define it – our clients know and they tell their contacts.
How do you get complex tax problems across?
Pictures and more pictures. We had a client in for a meeting and there was only one complaint – that my team had not drawn enough pictures for them! My personal favourite is my most recent drawing of an umbrella - we are hoping tax counsel agrees!
What do you do when you’re not being an accountant?
I would say that cycling saved my life – so cycling. But I also paint (the jury is however out on whether they are pictures or not!)
Read Michael's interview with the Journal/Chronicle here: