This year’s AAT Accounting Technician of the Year left school after A-levels
at 18, rejected all advice as to the best route to establishing a career in
accountancy, and at 26 years of age has become the youngest partner in the UK’s
top 60 accountancy firms.
Brain took the view that the route to commercial success in the world of
practice lay in learning accountancy on the job, networking and establishing
good long-term relationships, and promoting a rounded business advisory service.
His achievements to date testify to his commercial instincts and his
determination to pursue his ambitions in his own way.
Damon Brain joined Duncan & Toplis, a medium-sized practice, and
qualified with the firm in 1998 via a fast-track AAT programme. Having completed
his AAT, he moved from Boston to Lincoln to join Streets & Co, where he
began a chartered training contract.
Brain qualified at his first attempt, winning a district society prize at
intermediate level. He also set about getting himself known in Lincoln’s
business community, paying attention to the business of successfully acquiring
referrals and new business.
In April 2002, Brain rejoined Duncan & Toplis when the firm asked him to
work out of its Newark office as well as a new office in Lincoln. Seeing this as
an opportunity to build up his own portfolio of clients and make his mark on the
local business scene, Brain agreed.
He continued to expand his networking activities, focusing on opportunities
to offer business advice above and beyond standard compliance work. Very simply,
Brain won clients not via a hard sell, but by asking if he could hear about what
they did allowing relationships to develop and trust to build.
Within nine months, the Lincoln office was sufficiently established for Brain
to take up full-time work there. In April 2004 he was promoted to partner and
has grown the office’s client base from 200 (in 2002) to 350.
Brain’s drive and independent spirit drew praise from the judges. ‘He stood
out with an astonishing solo effort. This is a tremendously positive story of
someone just getting on with things, putting in the effort and building on it
consistently to achieve tremendous success,’ one said.
Brain encourages staff to study for AAT qualifications, as he believes that it
has given him a strong foundation upon which to build a career in practice. Out
of 12 staff at his firm, two are AAT trainees and three are AT qualified.
Another AAT trainee is due to join the firm.
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