Meeting Tom Biggs of Wellers

Tom Biggs, newly appointed as an Assoiciate at Wellers spoke with Edward Michael of B4 about his new roles, how Tom and his team impact their clients journeys, and what he is excited about moving forward with Wellers.

Congratulations on becoming an Associate at Wellers. Could you speak more about your promotion and what the role entails?

“Thank you, my promotion became effective on the 1st of October, so it is a relatively new role for me although the overall process has taken just over a year and a half. The Associate role forms part of our leadership group within the firm, which means I’ll be more involved in the decision-making and the strategic direction of the firm. 

“I was first identified to join the Associate Programme in May 2021. As part of that programme, I was sent on an external course provided by the ICAEW in Autumn of last year called ‘Developing Leaders in Practice’. This looked at what it means to take the next step up to a leadership level which really helped me to look at the wider picture and consider what I can bring to the table, what value I can add to Wellers,and of course our clients. 

Given I have a specialism and background in tax, one of the strategic projects I’ll be working on will be reviewing our tax offering to develop our services in this area and ensure we’re always providing value for our clients. This will involve looking at our tax offering both internally and within the wider marker with the aim of ensuring we are maximising the tax saving opportunities for individuals and businesses.

“On top of this, the Associate role also has an ongoing development aspect. The aim for me and others who have come through the programme as Associates is to continue developing our leadership and business ownership skills, with the view of a potential move up to a partnership position in the future.”

How long have you been at Wellers for?

“I’ve been at Wellers for just over five years. I came through a slightly different route as a qualified hire. I previously worked at a big 4 firm, so my journey is a little different compared to the typical route at Wellers where historically the model has been to join as a trainee and progress up through the firm.

“I started at Wellers in July 2017 as a Manager and have predominantly been based in the Oxford office, where I look after our clients. However, given in part because of my specialism and background in tax, if I am needed for more complex tax projects, or need to provide tax advice across the firm, I sometimes find myself doing so at our other offices based in London, Thame, and Banbury.”

Do your clients differ in terms of the size of the businesses and where they’re positioned in their growth journey?

“We cover a broad spectrum at Wellers, with our sweet spot being owner-managed businesses. Linked to this, we often work with shareholders or directors of these businesses from a personal tax and advisory capacity. These businesses usually range in sizes, from being independent groups of companies to a single director running a business through a limited company, or sole trader.

“The variety of businesses keeps things interesting. Having a mix of clients from different sectors means you’re doing something different every day. If I look at my own client base, I do quite a lot in R&D tax relief and as a result, have quite a few tech-based clients. But equally, on linking to the previous point about advising across the firm, I assist colleagues with their own clients who I don’t necessarily deal with day-to-day because of our R&D tax offering.

“The clients that I find really rewarding and satisfying are the ones where they join us as a small start-up and then we see them all the way through their growth and development stage, up to the point where the directors or shareholders are looking for an exit, where they have grown the business to the point where they will either sell up or maybe even list the business.” 

How do you impact your client’s journey?

“From an accounting perspective, ensuring all our clients’ ducks are in a row means we can make a big difference in terms of what they’re able to do. It feels as though we can have a big impact as business advisors, especially for those individuals and businesses that are just starting out. For example, helping them navigate the myriad and complexity of UK tax legislation really helps their journey moving forward. 

“I certainly feel our impact on our client’s journey is greater compared to previous firms I’ve worked in. A lot of our clients really value the extra mile we go with the advice we provide. For us, it’s not just about completing the accounts and making sure they are compliant. It’s about offering that extra service, what we call ‘Business Oxygen’. It’s giving that rounded business advice that makes a difference to our clients. That way they understand their financial position, the strategic options available to them, and what they need to do to reach the next goal on their business journey. It makes our work feel a lot more rewarding when we can provide an added value service, rather than the relationship just being transaction-based.”

What are you most excited about in your new role? 

“It’s exciting to be given the autonomy to go and develop certain aspects of our overall offering that will in turn help us expand as a firm. With it being my bread and better, I am also excited to lead on the tax project which I’m working on. Although still at an early stage, it already has a lot of strands to it. Ultimately for this project, we want to ensure we’re providing the best service we can to our clients by offering rounded advice, making sure we are considering all angles, being consistent in our approach, and making sure we’ve got certain processes in place.

“More broadly, the exciting part is the opportunity to make an impact, becoming more involved in the strategy of the firm and being able to take what I have learned and considered whilst on the Associate Program and then implementing all of those ideas.”

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