People are at the heart of everything we do, which is why we enjoy getting to know more about those who make Hazlewoods. The fourth person in our #Hazlewoodspeople series is Manager, Lee Brinkworth, who joined the firm as a trainee over eight years ago.
How did your accountancy career begin?
I joined straight from sixth form. My teacher actually received an email from Hazlewoods regarding trainee opportunities, so I decided to have a look into the AAT route. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at university, but I did have an interest in business and maths, so the two seemed to tie in nicely with an accountancy career.
After applying, I had three interviews in one day to see which area I would be best suited to. I joined the Business Services team, becoming dental sector specific.
I'm pleased I went straight into a career from sixth form, as I gained so much practical experience and enjoyed earning an income early on! A lot of people go to university for the social side too but joining Hazlewoods with other trainees my age meant I wasn't on my own. There were always regular trainee social events, which meant I could make some good friends that way too.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I enjoy working within the dental sector as I like building up specialist knowledge. Hazlewoods does offer the opportunity to be flexible and give other options a go, but personally, I prefer developing my knowledge and abilities within a specific area.
I also like how working within a sector covers a bit of everything, from dealing with client queries and accounts preparation, through to tax advice and supporting clients with buying and selling dental practices. You can also attend client meetings and visit a variety of businesses. I enjoy getting to know lots of people, seeing what clients do, where they work and how their businesses operate from the inside.
In terms of choosing Hazlewoods as the place to begin my career, it would have to be because of their reputation. I live in Gloucester so have always known of them as a big local firm. My training took nearly five years and Hazlewoods provided great support throughout, with plenty of opportunity for development.
Another reason is definitely the people. Obviously, some come and go, but building good, solid working relationships with the supportive and knowledgeable people around you over the course of eight years makes the job that much more enjoyable, comfortable, and easier.
Hazlewoods is big enough for personal growth and progression, but small enough to maintain genuine relationships. You never feel like just a number in a corporate environment. People actually invest their time in you.
The social scene has also been good, from trainee events through to attending the Cheltenham races – there's always something going on. I tend to end up going to the ones with a free bar on offer…but there are plenty of events to suit everyone!
What is the best career lesson you have learned so far?
Just speak to as many people as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and remain communicative. That applies both internally with staff and externally with clients. It's so easy to send clients an email, but I've learnt it's far better to pick up the phone and have a chat. You can get a lot more from a 10-minute phone call than you can with 100 emails.
Who has influenced or inspired you when it comes to how you approach your work?
Probably my parents. They have both worked hard and make sure I do the same. I guess they have set me on the right path really! There was never any pressure to attend university and they have always remained supportive of doing what makes me happy.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I play football and have done since I was a kid. I currently play regularly for Gala Wilton and enjoy the social opportunities that provides as well. Sadly, not a free bar there, so will have to start paying for the rounds soon!