Visitors to a busy accountant’s practice in Talbot Street, Leek are used to being welcomed by a friendly face in Andrew Harding.
Though most clients of LSGK Accountants never give it a second thought, Andrew is quite unique in a role that has generally been the preserve of females.
Andrew, who was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, gained a degree in Chemistry and Biology before joining BT as an administrator at their Hanley offices. He stayed at BT for over 20 years when in 2009, as part of the call centre team, he was offered a move to another area or redundancy.
Andrew said:” After leaving BT I took a bit of a break before taking on some gardening work and then working at Sainsburys in Leek.
“My wife Joanne has worked at LSGK Accountants for many years and one day she was talking to the boss about my administration experience. There happened to be a vacancy for a role covering administration and reception duties and he invited me in to have a chat. It went well and I was offered a job.
“The role is very varied and to some extent I’ve written my own job description as it has developed. I’m the only non-chargeable member of the team so a big part of my role is to keep on top of things for the accounts staff so that they can get on with their fee-paying work. I meet and greet at reception, undertake all the admin work, chase debts and manage mail campaigns.
“When I first arrived, I had a lot of help from Lezley Williams, daughter of the previous owner of the practice. Things like ‘year-end’ and VAT returns were all new to me, and Lezley was a very patient and informative teacher.
“I’ve also recently taken on the social media for the practice which has been a real eye opener for me. I’d not really had much interest in it prior to last year but I really enjoy it and can see the benefits in raising the profile of the practice.”
LSGK Accountants director, Jed Eatough said: “I don’t think of Andrew as a merely an administrator or a receptionist, more a manager of first impressions. A far greater number of our clients know Andrew than know me and I’m totally comfortable with that because Andrew is such a great front for the practice. We like think or ourselves as a progressive, forward thinking business with the focus on the customer and I think Andrew fits perfectly with this image.”