Meet the new Croydon President Tom Ahmad
As Tom Ahmad takes over the presidential reins at ICAEW Chartered Accountants Croydon, he speaks to London Accountant about business recovery, how accountancy must to evolve to stay relevant and the joy of owning a vintage VW camper van.
Chartered Accountant and insolvency practitioner Tom Ahmad is not one to shrink away from a challenge. This explains why he co-founded the business recovery and insolvency firm, Bailey Ahmad Business Recovery, with Paul Bailey at the tender age of 27. Paul and Tom met while both working in central London and having studied and qualified as insolvency practitioners together, they took the plunge and started their firm with little more than two laptops and a printer in January 2007. Based in Beckenham, Kent, the firm has a dedicated team who over the last 12 years have supported hundreds of businesses and individuals to overcome the practical and emotional challenge of dealing financial difficulty.
“There’s a stigma associated with failure,” Tom says, “Being in business carries risk and being an entrepreneur takes courage – I know from personal experience. Failure is a key part of learning and it should not be feared, nor should we write-off those who suffer business failure. If anything, those who have faced failure and learn from those experiences will be stronger for it.
“I am privileged to be in an industry at the sharp end of dealing with business failure. Crisis brings out the best and worst in us all, and I get to work with directors and those affected, often in conjunction with an advising accountant, to develop and implement solutions that help all those affected move forward positively.”
After completing a degree in accounting and finance at Loughborough University, Tom joined Buchler Phillips (which subsequently merged into Kroll) where he trained as an ACCA accountant and soon after he qualified as an insolvency practitioner in 2006.
Following in the footsteps of Andrew McKenzie-Smart, the outgoing Croydon President, Tom has recently joined ICAEW through the Pathways route, and is looking forward to the challenge of building on Andrew’s work as Croydon President.
“The biggest challenge is the rise of technology,” he says. “The traditional work of an accountant is changing; we all need to adapt to stay relevant. More than ever, we need to be recognised as critical business advisers that are key to helping clients navigate all the challenges they face as entrepreneurs or active stakeholders. How we do this is up for discussion, but as technology marches on, the compliance aspects of much of what the world sees as accountancy work will not need people. We need to think hard about how we evolve.”
“Large and small, young and old - the accountancy profession is made up of incredibly diverse, talented and experienced people who are woven into the fabric of communities and business worldwide. I have no doubt that together we will rise to the challenge.”
Away from work, Tom’s wife and four children keep his feet firmly on the ground, as well as keeping his 40 year old VW camper van on the road. “It’s not a perfect vehicle, but it’s slow pace and simplicity gives some respite from the working world,” he says. And it is perhaps a fitting vehicle for someone used to keeping businesses on the road as well.
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