My Story

At 6 decided I wanted to be an accountant, whilst other children wanted to be football players and train drivers, I loved numbers, always felt comfortable with numbers, and thought my Dad's accountant was glamorous. Well he had a great car and smoked cigars, all very enticing for a 6 year old.

I fully intended to study for a one year course at polytechnic and then a four year training contract. I even had a couple of job offers from local firms but my mother persuaded me to go to University and I spent 3 years in Southampton reading Business Economics and Accountancy, between 1982 and 1985.

Qualified with a 2-1, missed a first by 1 mark. I probably wished I did not know that!

Qualified at Stoy Hayward, but I was the only person ever to do tax articles. That was a bit strange, I passed professional exam 1 in the November sitting, and was seconded to the tax department for three months. I loved it, so they agreed I could stay, except for 2 months out on the RAC audit, to ensure I had the right amount of audit experience.

Stoys was a brilliant place to be, it was one of their best times, business was exciting, winning loads of new work, and working on some great clients and very interesting projects.

I passed all my professional exams first time, due entirely to rote learning and hard graft, the exams are not particularly hard, but there is an enormous amount to learn.

As soon as I was out of training contract I joined Hays Allan (now called Hays MacIntyre) who were a medium sized firm, fantastic client service which I liked, but recession times, so no chance of getting partnership.

Left to join a 10 partner firm, Bellman Messik and got partnership at 29, in 1993.

In 1995 the firm split, and the Pinner and Barnet Partners formed Sobell Rhodes, and I joined as a salaried partner, and bought equity in 1996 . Very exciting times where I learned an enormous amount from Andrew and Melvyn, for which I am very grateful.

At 38, sitting on the fence, I was happy and comfortable in partnership, earning a good income, but felt could do much better for clients, and felt restricted in partnership format, so I left and set up on my own. I was also encouraged to set up on my own by a number of clients, but Geoff Thomas in particular acted as a great mentor, always supportive and with a large gift from my uncle, that was enough to make me make the move. I spent months planning, and I still have my original business plan which I pored over for hours, leaving no part uncertain.

Originally there was my semi senior Andy Evangelou (who I regard as a good friend), and my secretary Viki (who became my brother in law's wife) doing 2 days a week.

In May 2004 I bought a practice, Conroy and Co, which trades as Lermer and Conroy, and that was a brilliant decision to make, very my encouraged by my good friend Paul Berlyn, who still coaches me.

In 2006 I joined the tax committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and in 2008 and 2009 I was one of the speakers at the ACCA budget breakfast, I do some public speaking with my own style, but speaking in front of 120 accountants is about the hardest gig you can get.

In March 2007 we out grew our first office by Oakwood tube station (1 Oakwood Parade) and moved to New Barnet.

The practice grew, fortunately and today we have 21 (12 qualified accountants, 5 qualified by experience and 4 administrators) of us.

What we stand for

We strive to be a Great Small firm

As Chris Davis says, stay small

Give the sort of service people want, and we genuinely care about what we do.

We have a great team , and we all respect our own talents (and foibles).

Be treated as I would like to be treated myself, we don't always achieve this, we sometimes get it wrong, but we do always have the right intentions, whatever anyone says.

In November 2013 we won Accountancy Age "Small Firm of the Year" - this is something I was very proud of achieving, not for me, but for our team, we really strive to give brilliant service, we are good at what we do.

Next Step:

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