Tanya Craft commenced her journey at HW Fisher in 2011 as an Accountant through the ACA programme. Over thirteen years, she ascended to a director in the audit team, leading her team in delivering comprehensive audit assignments. Her extensive career spans eight years in corporate finance, specialising in financial due diligence and valuation assignments. This background equips her well for her client mix, predominantly acquisitive medium and large corporate groups reporting under IFRS and FRS102.
In our latest Q&A session, Tanya shares insights into her career path, notable achievements, client service advice, and anticipated trends for the coming year.
What is your role at HW Fisher?
I deliver high-quality audits, leading teams to understand clients’ businesses, robustly plan and assess risks, and conclude audits with corrective adjustments and management recommendations within reporting deadlines. Independence remains fundamental to my work.
Despite my focus on audit, I spent eight years in transactional services, emphasising financial due diligence and valuations. This experience gives me a profound understanding of business combinations, deal drivers, buy and sell side dynamics, and resultant opportunities.
While an audit RI, I remain involved in some corporate finance work, particularly valuation assignment, which I love! I find this the most interesting aspect and enjoy even the smaller valuation type work such as valuing growth shares or share based payments for accounting purposes.
What did your journey into accountancy look like?
I left school after my GCSE’s to enrol in AAT levels 2 and 3 at college. After qualifying, I was offered a job with the college’s accounts department and began full-time employment at the college.
To continue my learning alongside my role, I enrolled in an evening course to achieve my AAT level 4. After qualifying, at 18 years old, I decided to take a break and travel with my partner. Upon returning, I set my sights on getting an ACA contract, which wasn’t easy since most ACA contracts require a university degree and even then, places are competitive. Despite this, I gained some practice experience by volunteering at a local firm whilst I continued my search.
The story with HW Fisher began when I was 19 years old, the firm called me back about my job application. I was the youngest of the applicants by roughly 3 years. Diversity is important to HW Fisher and they saw beyond the degree tickbox to see my ambition and determination. They offered me the role as an ACA trainee. I worked for 3 years in audit and qualified just before my 23rd birthday.
Upon qualification, I worked within the corporate finance team, where I gained a lot of insight into client businesses through undertaking due diligence assignments. With direct access to partners in the corporate finance team, I could learn from them, work directly with them, and benefit from their expertise.
During my time in corporate finance, I specialised in due diligence, valuations and financial modelling. However, I never lost my interest in auditing and maintained a portfolio of clients. Since having my second child, I have fully returned to the audit team and obtained my RI. In addition to client work, I also mentor colleagues and act as their counselling partner.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love my job. The variety in projects keeps it interesting. I love collaborating with my great team and working with my exceptional clients. I also enjoy mentoring and teaching; I spend time with my managers and seniors to ensure they have the best training.
Tell us an achievement that you are proud of.
Striking the balance of a thriving career alongside a successful family life is something I’m proud off. I hope I can show others that a career and parenthood can coexist harmoniously with dedication and energy.
What is your advice for delivering first class client service?
Two heads are better than one. I will never be too proud to bounce ideas off other technical partners within the firm and cross check the tax implications to ensure our clients get the best results.
I also see that a lot of clients can get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business and in the small details, however sometimes they need to be asked the bigger questions on what the longer terms plans are for the businesses or themselves so they can take a step out of the detail and make a map to the future.
Finally, what trends do you expect to see next year within the audit space?
Smart technology’s integration will continue to progress in the profession.
I have been working to better integrate my passion for valuation into audit. There is considerable overlap between valuation and valuation methodology for financial reporting. These are areas where significant estimates and judgements are used. These are also areas where the SME market often lacks the in-house finance professional to prepare what is required for financial reporting.
As an auditor we must remain independent and are restricted in assisting clients in these areas. For the last few years, I have been working with my non-audit clients to help them prepare accounting workpapers for presentation to their auditors. Thankfully my training in the valuations space, financial reporting and audit expertise places me in a niche space to undertake this work.
This is a space where I would like to continue to see growth, the International Valuation Standards council have already made movements in the space to work to integrate valuation techniques into financial instruments measurement with IVS500 due to come into effect from Jan 2024.
Areas where I can assist non-audit side:
On the audit side, I am always interested to discuss opportunities with new clients, and I make a good fit for acquisitive groups.
If you are interested in learning more about Tanya’s work at HW Fisher, please get in touch.