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Ben Samuels: A Day in the Life

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How do you keep up to date in a world that’s constantly changing?

Simple things, such as keeping notifications on for news apps on my phone, give me a good understanding of anything major going on in the world. I also spend a worrying amount of time on Twitter, which certainly helps in keeping up with the ever-changing landscape, although this is more football-centric than business-focused! As part of Mercer & Hole, we also receive regular updates specifically for the audit and taxation industry, which are very helpful for monitoring any significant work-related changes.

What is the first thing you do each workday?

Typically, after logging in remotely or in the office, I catch up on any emails I’ve received and make sure my ‘to do’ list is up to date. Now that we have recently been able to slowly return to the office, it’s nice to chat with colleagues and have a catch up before getting my head into work for the day.

How do you break up your day – breaks, lunch, a walk?

When working from home, I make sure I take my lunch hour away from my desk, and get up and stretch at a few intervals throughout the day too. Being back in the office, this is much more natural, as conversations with colleagues about a piece of work or what someone did at the weekend break up the workday perfectly. I usually go out for lunch when I’m working from the office, which is great for getting some fresh air and getting away from my desk.

Why did you decide to choose this career?

My parents are both accountants and I have always been pretty comfortable with numbers, as well as holding an interest in finance and business in general. When I was deciding on university degrees, I ended up deciding I need something to just focus in on, so I committed to an accounting and finance degree and have now followed it through in the world of work.

Is there something you used to find particularly challenging but now comes more naturally?

Asking questions. Initially when you join it is natural to not want to ask questions and feel like you are pestering people when you do, but in reality, it is in everyone’s interest to ask and make sure you understand what you are doing as well as possible. All the managers I work with are very approachable and always happy to help and explain things if I ever have any doubts or need some help.

What is the most satisfying part of what you do?

When preparing a set of accounts, it is always very rewarding when everything eventually balances, and any error messages being flagged have been successfully cleared. It is also always nice when you see a tax return all the way through from the papers sent in by a client to the point at which we can send out a neatly-bound tax return for the client to review.

How do you prioritise your work?

Tax compliance is quite deadline-heavy as it is, so usually these will determine what piece of work will need to be prioritised. Other than that, it is usually the first piece of work that should, in theory, be the first to be worked on and returned to the client. I usually keep a hand written ‘to do’ list and speak with managers to confirm timeframes and make sure they are not expecting anything sooner than I can get to it.

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