James Gilbey, Partner (Forensic and Investigation Services)
How did you find out about Mazars and why did you choose them?
When I was in my final year at University, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I applied to everything … law firms, consultancy firms, banks and accountancy firms to name a few. It didn’t take me long to realise that the qualifications and training that I could get from an accountancy firm were far more suited to my skill set than other professional organisations, and I quickly learned that each accountancy firm I visited had its own unique culture. Mazars felt right at interview. The questions and the selection process were tough, but it really felt like those interviewing me wanted me to do well. That ethos flows through Mazars. Everyone wants their colleagues to succeed and there is a really collaborative and supportive culture.
How did your training at Mazars help to prepare you for your career journey through to becoming a Partner?
My route to Partnership at Mazars is different to most others. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in the audit team, I was keen to try forensic accounting. Mazars provided me with an opportunity to go on a secondment to the Financial Conduct Authority (it was called the Financial Services Authority back then) to help on a high profile investigation. My application would never have been successful without my ACA qualification, my audit training and the interview preparation that Mazars helped me with. I spent a year with the FCA, which opened so many doors for me that it took me seven years to return! I always remained in contact with Mazars, and they were always very supportive of my career, so when an opportunity arose to return to the mothership I grabbed it with both hands! Since then, I’ve received helpful training on technical aspects, business development, leadership … all of the things you would expect from a Partner.
How long did it take you to find your place in the company?
The great thing about Mazars is that your place in the company is not necessarily fixed. I have worked in the external audit team, the internal audit team, been away on secondment, and now specialise in the forensic and investigation services team. I guess I had itchy feet and wanted to try a few things out before I really settled down and specialised in one particular area, so for me it took a few years to find my “place”. The journey getting there was fun though, with lots of new experiences.
What’s the benefit of staying with Mazars in the long term?
The obvious answer is that you can make it to the top! Mazars, more than any organisation I have worked with, is a meritocracy. If you work hard, and you’re good at your job, then your commitment and talent will be recognised. But it’s more than that. Since I joined Mazars the firm has moved to bigger and better offices, expanded geographically (I can’t believe we are now in over 70 countries), won some amazing clients and recently is one of the few accountancy practices to weather the financial crisis and come out stronger for it. It’s a journey that I’m proud to be a part of, and I look forward to what the future holds.