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TGt Meets...Michael Blaken - Accounts Director at Optimum Professional Services
Meet our latest TGt Meets Michael Blaken, the accounts director at Optimum Professional Services...
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
I’m Michael Blaken, Accounts Director at Optimum Professional Services, and my role involves looking after my portfolio of clients, along with overseeing our tax and payroll team.
What services does Optimum Professional provide?
Optimum is unique in the Swindon area because we offer both accountancy services and also legal services. Our accountancy team cover personal and business tax planning, accountancy, audit and assurance, along with bookkeeping and payroll. Our legal team specialise in property law (for both residential and commercial property) and wills.
What inspired you fulfil a career in accountancy?
I had a mishap with one of my years at university, and it lead me to change my course slightly, away from pure economics to a split between economics and accountancy. From the first week of the accountancy course, I knew it was different. I had a real interest in understanding what there was to learn and put my ‘numbers’ brain to good use. I left university, got on a training contract in Gloucestershire and here we are.
Describe Optimum Professional Services in 3 words...
Friendly, diligent and trustworthy.
What advice would you give anyone looking to fulfil a career in the same industry?
Look into starting an AAT apprenticeship. The qualification gives you a well-rounded experience in accountancy and taking that placement with Optimum will give you experience in accounts, tax and audit. This can lead you into further qualifications if you want to add to the letters after your name. We have a number of accountancy apprentices at Optimum, and they bring real value to our business, so we are looking to recruit more this year.
What do you think attracts business people to Swindon?
Swindon has a rich and diverse business community, from very small business to giant corporates, across a vast range of sectors, so there are lots of opportunities to do business here. There is also plenty going on, and the housing provision is expanding, so now is a good time to move to the town to live and to work.
How do you like?to spend your time off?
I’m married to Ruby and we have three children, so family life takes up a lot of my time. I enjoy taking my eldest to his football training and matches, running, attempting golf, and catching up for a beer with my mates. I guess spending time with my wife should be included here too!
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
I particularly enjoy working with the owners of limited companies in construction or manufacturing, who themselves have a team of staff. I am also very proud that much of my work comes via recommendation from existing clients, so they must be happy with how we look after them.
And most challenging part of your job?
After spending time working with clients to help improve their business, the biggest challenge is leaving enough valuable time to continue growing and improving Optimum. This is why we have a strong board of directors, so we make sure we take time out of the business to plan our growth. We’re recruiting currently and have a number of vacancies in both our accountancy and legal teams.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Other than becoming a chartered and certified accountant, it has been becoming a Director of Optimum. I’m proud that in just a few years we have grown the business to a team of more than 25, with our own premises and a great community of clients and contacts.
Find out more about Optimum Professional Services HERE!
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