Phil Mullis FCCA, partner at Wilkins Kennedy specialising in independent retailers and FMCGs
Most of my clients - independent retailers and wholesalers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) - are UK-based with turnover up to £50m. They sell a spectrum of products into the UK retail market, such as furniture, white goods, cosmetics and lifestyle products.
I help wholesalers in particular to grow their businesses via the export market. Some FMCG clients target international markets. We are seeing real growth in the Middle East, particularly for luxury goods.
I focus on understanding clients’ problems and working with them to deliver solutions. We focus on cashflow management, property leases, costings and getting the product mix right, growth strategies and the changing shape of retail - for example, the shift from physical to virtual shops.
Many clients are small or family-run businesses; succession planning is important. As they grow, I work with them to anticipate the future and ensure they have robust succession plans in place. Ultimately, they benefit from gaining the most precious commodity of all - time.
I spend 60 per cent of my time directly with clients. I’d like to spend more, but there are multiple calls on my time. I have eight direct reports, and manage our office’s training programme and our designated professional body training.
The ACCA Qualification is the most rigorous qualification I have studied for. It has underpinned my career as a practising accountant. As a school-leaver I obtained the AAT qualification before taking it further with ACCA. I’ve benefited from working in both Big Four and smaller firms.
I obtain my CPD from a variety of sources, including Accounting and Business, which is extremely useful for technical and soft skills updates. As my office’s audit and assurance partner, I regularly attend in-house CPD updates. I engage widely in social media and use it to keep abreast of retail developments.
It is really rewarding to help businesses and people fulfil their professional and personal aspirations. I get satisfaction from building talent in our firm. We recently received Gold accreditation from ACCA, which is a boost to the two ACCA trainees currently in the office.
I have twin career highlights so far: obtaining my ACCA Qualification and being made a partner. But it still excites me to work with clients who offer great product ranges, strong customer service, social responsibility within their communities and a willingness to expand and invest in people.