Awards 2001 – Rob Thompson – Accountant of the Year.

This year’s winner in the Accountant of the Year category has been described by the judges as ‘outstanding’.

At 28, Rob Thompson is a department head and line manager at HLB Kidsons’ Chester and Liverpool office with 24 tax staff reporting to him. He has been commended by partners at Kidsons for improving the profitability and client delivery of his team and he is on track to become a partner in May next year.

Thompson’s career progression has been rapid and is based on a strong academic record. He has a first-class honours degree in mathematics, was a regional prize winner in the course of his accountancy training, and during his 1998 ATII exams produced the best UK individual performance.

In May last year, Thompson secured a place on the Kidsons partner selection programme. The firm invites those managers who have shown high standards in client relationship management, provision of business and technical advice, aptitude for business development and leadership skills to join the scheme.

Thompson has encouraged his department to work closely with others in the regional office. He has led multidisciplinary business review meetings with clients to identify their needs and to ensure the firm is proactive in offering a broad range of business services.

He is also active as a speaker and writer, contributing features on company car tax to The Daily Mail, the RIBA Journal and Kidsons’ in-house publications.

He also provides careers counselling to sixth-form students at Kings School in Chester.

His open and confident approach has won him plaudits from clients. In particular, he has forged strong relationships with the financial controller and group finance director at construction group Norwest Holst, where he helped the finance department with employee remuneration and retention.

On the basis of his relationship with the group, Kidsons has since tendered for VAT, corporate finance and accounting work with the construction company, and Thompson’s team alone has generated #100,000 in fee income from specialist tax consultancy assignments with the client.

His approach has also found favour with personal taxation clients. He helped one client negotiate a tax-efficient termination package from his AIM-listed company and subsequently reduced that client’s capital gains exposure by 50% on a share disposal.

Thompson’s ability to leverage consultancy work through strong client relations and good technical skills makes him strong partner material.

Frank Harris, national head of taxation consultancy at Kidsons, says: ‘Tax advice remains one of the leading services offered by the firm and Rob’s ability to think laterally with regard to client problems has resulted in the development of a number of innovative tax strategies with wide ranging application. In such a rapidly developing market we will continue to use such skills to maintain and demonstrate our sustainable competitive advantage.’

The judges identified him as the stand-out candidate in this category: ‘He shows great confidence,’ said one, ‘and he’s willing to put himself forward.’

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