Taking place on 19 November 2021, International Men’s Day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities.
Adam Croney is a Thomas Westcott Director, based in our Plymouth office. Adam reflects on his career path, who and what inspires him and his involvement in the local community.
1. International Men’s Day focuses on men leading by example. Has there been an important male role model in your life and, if so, how has he influenced your life choices?
In my early life this was a real challenge – growing up without a key male role model in the house. I’m really pleased that as I’ve grown older, I have developed a really strong relationship with my Dad who is a huge source of support today, and is someone who has had a great deal of impact through his professional life.
The absence of a key male role model in the house as I was growing up led me to being naturally quite thoughtful and reflective, both traits which I think have helped me.
2. When and why did you decide to become an accountant?
This is entirely by accident. Initially, after graduating, I worked in mental health care, both in NHS and private services. This included working in secure inpatient services with individuals who had both mental health and criminal justice issues. I got into this work because, although naturally an introverted character, I really like working with and helping people.
My desire to work with and help people, combined with my interest in business has led me to where I am today. I’m much more focussed on people and business, than I am on numbers. I was fortunate in my timing because there is absolutely a push towards accountants forming advisory relationships with business. It’s about helping owners with both their personal and business objectives, looking beyond the finances.
3. What are the greatest barriers you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
One of the greatest barriers has been learning to juggle different parts of my life. I flew back from my honeymoon, went separate ways from my wife at the airport and started my initial graduate role and professional studies the next day. In the decade that has followed my family has grown with two daughters and, although challenging, I have had the pleasure of balancing a successful professional life with also being active and involved at home.
I’m fortunate that my becoming a dad coincided with a shift in attitudes and support being given to men so that they can attend all of the school plays, sports days and after-school activities that they would wish to. I have always had the support at Thomas Westcott to excel both at work and at home, and that ensures that I’m not left with regrets of missed opportunities in either area.
4. What advice would you give to your younger self, just starting out as a trainee accountant?
I don’t really want to say this, but it’s the truth. I’d advise my younger self to have more patience. I’m driven and that means that I’ve always wanted to get ahead, and wanted things yesterday – however in taking this approach sometimes you miss the learning and development that only comes from appreciating the journey as much as the destination.
5. Thomas Westcott is a firm that values being part of communities across the South West, not only being there for its clients but also supporting many local charities. Have you been involved with any charity events and how do you support your community?
It is important both to myself and Thomas Westcott that we make a positive impact to the community around us. I actively give back through volunteering my time as a Trustee of Westcountry Schools Trust, as well as Governor and Chair of Audit Committee for City College Plymouth.
I was also proudly part of the small team which launched the Plymouth Children in Poverty campaign in 2018. This was a campaign to raise awareness of child poverty in Plymouth and the significant difference in academic and life outcomes for children simply because they were born at one end of the street rather than the other.
This campaign has been recognised by Plymouth City Council as their only independent action within their Child Poverty Action Plan and has now raised well over £100k in funds which all goes directly back into frontline projects and initiatives. Although there were just a few of us who launched the campaign, it is about much more than us, and therefore I’m proud that we now have dozens of Plymouth corporates supporting us.
6. What drives you in your role?
It sounds cliché, but I’m driven to leave an impact and make a difference. I always want to give more than I ask for. I feel really strongly that the South West is a great place to do business, with great opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovation, as well as providing strong career prospects for the vast amount of talent we have locally.
7. The theme for International Men’s Day 2020 is ‘Better health for men and boys’. What do you do to stay healthy and achieve a good work life balance?
I pay close attention to my own mental health. I know that I’m naturally a peaks and troughs kind of character. That means I sometimes have to accept that I need to take some time out so that I can then deliver my best and more in the following days.
I find that getting outside onto Dartmoor, or time permitting the Brecon Beacons is great for restoring me and helping me come back to work refreshed.
I’m also an early riser so I try to get a head start on the day before others are even awake. It’s normal for me to be up before five, getting some productive work done before it’s light, which then allows me to balance up doing the school run a couple of days a week.
8. We have seen many changes in our professional lives over the last few years. Which positive changes would you like to see in the future?
I think we’ve realised that having positive working environments, positive team cultures and a focus on wellness are so much more than a gimmick. Instead it’s actually the most sensible approach from a commercial perspective.
At a time when we are more connected than ever before and our clients need us to respond quickly, expectations are changing for many of us. I think we need to continue embracing the fluid mix of working and personal life, while also progressing further in how we support our teams as they manage their various stressors in work.
We should encourage discussion of stress at work. Stress is a good thing, but we also need to speak more freely about how to manage this better and learn from those who do this well. This will allow us to work towards the championing of wellness among our people, rather than merely the absence of illness – all things that I’m pleased to say Thomas Westcott is driving forward.
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