With nine years of experience from working in the private client space at PwC, Accounting & Tax Associate, James McNaught is excited to be taking a step in a different direction to broaden his skill set and help small business owners. For James, the appeal of Carbon was our small business client base as he had been working with medium to large scale businesses and wanted more of the inter-personal connection.

“The best part of my day is talking to clients and getting to know them and their business. I had been working directly with a company’s CFO or members of their finance team about tax technical matters, which is a very different experience to interacting with the business owner directly about a range of commercial considerations. I’m looking forward to building relationships with my clients, and helping them through their business journey,” said James.

We all know Perth is small, so it will come to no surprise that James had met Carbon Co-Founders Nathan Hood and Jamie Davison at networking events throughout the years. James’ connection to Carbon even extended to his volunteer endeavours, having joined some of the team for various trips to Cambodia through his involvement with charity Hootstoke.

When James and Nathan’s paths crossed again this year, James started to consider making the move to Carbon more seriously.

“Having met Nathan over the years, I knew his approach to accounting, the way he interacts with his clients, and had been watching Carbon grow. The opportunity to join Carbon and be mentored by Nathan was one that excited me, but it was a big decision to make.”

COVID-19 forced us all to re-consider our career and personal journeys, and for James it saw him edge closer toward joining Carbon.

“It took me a while to think about my career and the direction I wanted to take. COVID-19 shook things up and made me think about my path in a different way. I asked myself who did I want to work with, and what impact did I want to have with my work, and the answer was small business owners – and Carbon is the place to do that.”

When making a big career choice, it’s important to ask ourselves what our ‘why’ is: Why do we do the work that we do? For James, his why is all about his clients.

“For me, it’s about being there for the growth of the businesses of the future. I love to work with interesting, dynamic people and getting to be part of their journey as I coach them through their financial and tax problems. Business owners and entrepreneurs are such amazing people and are incredibly switched on, so I’m inspired to see their passion and be able to help them get to where they want to go.”

Being relationship-centric like James means you get invested in your clients, and want to see the best for them. It’s been said a hundred times, but there is nothing more vital for a business owner than for them to have a good relationship with their accountant.

“When your accountant knows you well, they have a holistic view of what you do, where your business is going and where your financial questions are going to come from. If it’s only a transactional relationship where you only speak once a year at tax time, then the information can be stale and you end up having to deal with problems that could have been avoided if the communication lines were open.”

One of the big mistakes James sees business owners making is when they tell their accountant after doing something.

“Ideally, you have a strong enough relationship with your accountant to be able to tell them before you make a decision so that they can be on the front foot and proactively manage tax and other issues. Without this, you could end up having to spend time and money fixing problems that could have been avoided.”

For business owners who are longing for a better relationship with their accountant, but aren’t quite sure how to make the move, James’ has some advice for you.

“It’s important to ensure you’re getting value out of your accountant for what you need. Sometimes, as a business grows a business owner will stay with an accountant they may have outgrown. That’s the benefit of working with a business like Carbon: The partners are all small business owners just like you, so they understand the challenges and the changing needs of a business as it grows.

“There’s no harm in meeting a potential new accountant and taking some time to get to know them. If they stay in touch, they will undoubtedly learn more about your business so when you get to the point where you want to change, you will have built trust with them already.”

We’re looking forward to seeing James grow in his new role, and we know he will make a positive impact on his client’s lives.

If you’d like to get in touch with James, click below!