Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature one of our accounting & tax directors, Lesley Irwin. Lesley, based in our North Coast office, ran her own practice for over 15 years and has recently merged her firm, Irwin-McAfee Chartered Accountants, with Pacem. Lesley is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Advisor and plays a key role in servicing our accountancy clients.

Lesley tells us a bit more about herself below.

Your name:
Lesley Irwin

Your role at Pacem:
Director of Accounting and Tax – based in the North Coast office.

How long have you been with Pacem?
I’ve been part of Team Pacem for almost 5 months. I ran my own practice for over 15 years when a chance phone call with Elizabeth Crossan lead to a merger with Pacem.

What does your day-to-day role entail?
I oversee the provision of a wide range of compliance and advisory services for my clients including annual financial accounts, personal tax returns, payroll, VAT returns and corporation tax.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, organised, control-freak.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I have a full-on obsession with Formula 1 and have done since I was ten years old. Twenty-two weekends a year are filled with watching fast cars racing all over the world. I do not maintain an allegiance to any team but avidly follow a couple of drivers each year based purely on who seems the most fun, their social media posts and the livery of their cars. At the minute it’s all about McLaren.

What do you like most about your job?
I deal directly with the owners and decision-makers within the business. As an accountant I get to see the internal workings of all types of businesses and all sizes of businesses. There is a wide diversity of clients – from farmers to personal trainers, engineers to close-protection officers and opticians to mechanics. It is absolutely fascinating to see how clients in the same businesses with the same circumstances make completely different decisions, have different goals and different levels of tolerance to their tax bills. Over the last 15 years I’ve been able to see some businesses move on to the next generation when directors or partners retire, and new partners join. Other clients have started their businesses around the kitchen table or spare bedroom and quickly grown to be a success. I get to help and advise clients through pivotal moments for their businesses such as the property boom, recession, Brexit, HMRC digitalisation and now Covid-19. I really enjoy the fact that no two clients have the same approach or outcome. Every workday really is different.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Part of me thinks the first thing I would do is speak to Daniel and invest the winnings through Pacem wealth – planning for long-term security and growth while providing a solid income. The more realistic part of me thinks I would book some time off work to interview for a personal assistant, chef, chauffeur and glam squad. Then we need to consider the more practical things like mansion on the beach or apartment in a Mediterranean city? Yacht or plane ? Aston Martin or McLaren ?

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I am doing my dream job at the minute 😊. However, if it doesn’t work out, I’d like to either drive a supercar for a living or become a pilot [preferably of a fighter jet].

Favourite song
Everything by Avicii or Coldplay or Kygo !

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to be able to speak another language fluently.  This has been on my list for years but with little progress.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I have less patience than I thought.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work
Covid-19 highlighted that my daily life had become not all that different from lockdown as a busy home life and work life had left little time for other things.  I enjoy reading a good book, swimming or a walk with the dog.  I really look forward to our Summer family holiday each year – it’s great to get all four of us away from the routine and emails to enjoy each other’s company and try out new places, new food and new activities.

About jessica.higginson@podiem.com