PracticeConsultingProfile – Jay Shah, Angel Human Resources

Profile - Jay Shah, Angel Human Resources

'Accounting systems are the same; but businesses differ'.

With over 35 years’ experience as a management accountant, Jay Shah has joined recruitment specialist Angel Human Resources as group financial controller.

It is far removed from the early accountancy experiences of Tanzanian-born Shah, who started his career in the mid-1960s, working for the nationalised Tanzania brewery as a senior accountant and then senior auditor. Travel to some of the more remote outposts was an adventure in itself. ‘It was quite interesting,’ he says. ‘Some of the branches were so remote you had to go there by company plane. You could see giraffes on some of the airstrips.’

The Tanzanian breweries are a dynamic sector of the economy, according to Shah, contributing around 20% of total gross national product. During this time, Shah was also taking an ACCA correspondence course, which he never completed due to lack of time. This hardly held back his career, though, and, in 1976, Shah came over to England.

He joined Haden Young Construction as a branch accountant, specialising in contracts worth more than #20m.

In 1990, he left to join Starion International, the perfume company, as an assistant accountant before transferring to its sister company, Mould Hobbings, four years later.

‘It was making a loss and I was the only accountant there,’ he recalls. ‘It went into liquidation in 1998.’

His latest job, at Angel – which has a turnover of around #12m – presents different challenges. Shah has responsibility for eight branches, divided along five industry sectors, which include industrial, commercial, catering and medical divisions. ‘There are no management accountants working for Angel at the moment,’ he says, stressing the need for an increased co-ordination between the financial accountants in the company’s branches and the managers in the head office.

Shah clearly thrives on change. ‘Accounting systems are the same everywhere, but the businesses are different,’ he says.

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