A Q&A with Tax Manager in the Farms and Estates team, Victoria Thomas.
What is it like being an accountant in the agricultural sector right now?
Our sector is always interesting! It’s funny because we have a lot of constants and many concerns remain the same year on year. The political environment, however, is always a challenge, it affects everyone and can sometimes be quite dramatic.
Nothing is really a great surprise for us; working in a sector means we have in-depth knowledge and understanding of client needs and can usually adapt to changes pretty quickly.
What drew you to working in the agricultural sector?
I’m a bit of an anomaly in our team! I actually don’t have an agricultural background, so I’m one of very few who has never really been that close to a cow!
Having said that, I’ve worked in the team for so many years now and I’ve learnt so much about the sector, I feel very at home. I really love the people and businesses we work with.
The general tax work that we do is pretty straightforward and process driven, but the advisory work is what really interests me. Advising families on inheritance tax, for example, you get to know the individuals really well. The work might take a bit longer, but you come out of it feeling like you’ve really achieved something for the family. I get very excited when a new piece of advisory work comes my way.
I’m approaching 10 years at Hazlewoods this year, which is such an achievement and really says a lot about how much I love it here. I started as an AAT trainee in the old Gloucester office in 2013 and have since qualified as AAT, ACA, CTA.
The support has made me stay; I have such great levels of support from all levels around me, all the way to Partner. We also have a fantastic trainee programme and the ability to impart knowledge to newcomers to the team is something I really enjoy too.
It obviously helps that we have such great people and a lovely working environment. In 2015, I moved to our Staverton office when the extension opened and you really couldn’t ask for more beautiful surroundings to work in.
Tell us something that we might not know about you?
I’ve lived in five different countries; I was born in England, moved to Wales, Switzerland, Australia and then America. I still travel a lot now, although I prefer short city breaks and staying a bit closer to home.
For me, the best way to relax is to go on a long walk, climbing hills and making the most of the countryside we live in. In 2019, we celebrated the Hazlewoods centenary by visiting 100 clients in a day; I walked 50,000 steps that day – I loved it, not only for the walking, but because we got out to see so many clients who were all so welcoming and supportive. It’s such a lovely sector, everyone has common goal and works together really well.