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Helen Spencer

HELEN SPENCER is the managing partner of Whittingham Riddell, the accountancy business with offices including Shrewsbury and Ludlow. She has been with the firm for 14 years.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: A mixture of meetings to enable our people to deliver client service and strong business performance, communicating with our teams and raising the profile of WR externally.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? Technology, specifically accounting software, and the impact on what and how we deliver services to our clients.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? Technology and the opportunity to extend our current business advisory offering with clients using real time management information.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? I communicate our business priorities, encourage my team to get involved in how we deliver our priorities and encourage and support them to be their best.

WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? Our monthly Partners meeting which lasted 1.5 hours. It was very productive as we signed off our annual accounts, reviewed our business performance and monitored actions towards the achievement of our WR roadmap for the future.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? It varies but typically 80-100 emails. I definitely have no more than an hour daily to respond to these emails so it can be a challenge keeping up with the volume

DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Yes, although I am trying to limit this as I aim to encourage our teams to only respond to “urgent” calls and emails outside of their working hours.  The right work-life balance depends on the individual, but to me it is to ensure that I am “present” when I am at home with my family and have some down time to recharge and refocus.


BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? At the moment I do not think that we know what Brexit means. I hope that, whatever the outcome reached, we find it possible to take a positive outcome and show confidence by developing opportunities for the future.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I am very lucky as I have had many career highlights but a high is definitely becoming managing partner within a brilliant partnership team. The lowlights, having experienced a long HR career, has been managing downsizing and redundancies when businesses have experienced challenging times.

PET HATES? Rudeness and snobbery. One of my favourite saying is that “you should not look down on someone unless you are helping them up”

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? To worry less, as it will all work out OK in the end.

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Spending time with family and friends which normally includes eating lots of food and reading a good book with a glass of wine.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? There are many business owners who are committed not only to the success of their business but also to contributing to the success of Shropshire. I see a desire to do business and support each other across the county.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. I listen to music and sing in my car, usually very badly at the top of my voice!

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? The Alchemist (Paul Coehlo), Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Coco Channel, Princess Diana and Hillary Clinton

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…? Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding with Raspberry Meringue Roulade or Crème Brulee.



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