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Your story: James Hope

Practitioner James Hope has only been with the IFA for a year, but he’s determined to use his decades of experience to support the institute. James discusses his concern about retiring accountants, helping family businesses and whisky… 

Your story: James Hope
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  • Staff Reporter
  • June 12, 2020
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Describe yourself to us

My first 25 years in industry, where I qualified, saw me reach a senior level: FD with a large regional subsidiary of a public company. I went into a practice before branching out on my own.

Why is the future bright with the IFA?

I’ve found the institute close-knit and easier to engage with than others. So I joined last year at 75 years’ old. They’re proving very proactive – and are a developing organisation. I hope to be involved where I can.

What is the most interesting part about your job?

It’s a bit of a cliché, but I enjoy the variety of people and businesses I deal with as a practitioner. It’s very much more rewarding than when I worked in industry. You feel as though you’re helping people. Family businesses, for example, require a personal approach for both the short and long term. 

Most embarrassing/funny moment in your career…

I don’t know about that! I am appalling with names and faces. Initially I meet a client and then they start working with other team members. I operate an open door policy and they’ll pop into the office and say hello. I struggle to know who they are but, if I pause and pass the time of day, someone will give me a clue.

Best/most inspirational moment in your career? 

The luckiest was getting into accountancy, pushed by my father. He was a miner and didn’t want me to follow him, figuratively or literally.  

Who is your role model, in life or in your career and why?  

I’ve had different ones for different occasions. But my traineeship in accountancy saw the chief accountant lead me through the processes, including the impact of accountancy upon clients. He taught me to put myself in the place of the people with whom I was dealing. 

Favourite food?

Kippers with a whisky in the morning, best in the Western Isles, but often enough when prompted by my wife. A big fried breakfast also ranks high on the scale.

Most useful tech tool or app – and why?

I tend to not use the major software companies. I prefer micro-business tools created by individuals – that way I can deal directly with them. Having said that, I do now use banking apps when I have to.

How do you spend your time away from your role?

I like reading the newspaper, The Spectator, Sudoku and geology. I play a bit of Racquets i.e. the ‘big bat’ version of squash. I also have as many long weekends with family as I can manage. 

What do you see as the path ahead for you and your career?

I’m looking forward to helping the IFA develop. I see too many accountants retiring; it’s frightening all that experience walking out the door. I want to see practitioners being less introspective and working together more. 

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