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International Men’s Day is celebration of the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

Chartered Accountant Szymon Krzyzanowski is based in our Bridgwater office. We asked him some questions about his career to date, 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?

I have had many important role models in my life. On International Men’s Day I would like to mention my dad who taught me deep and valuable lessons of integrity, hard work and creativity - always leading by example. He encouraged me to aim high in terms of my career choice and to have a clear, long-term vision of what I want to achieve.  

2. When and why did you decide to become an accountant?

I always wanted to work with numbers due to my love for everything maths-related. I decided to become an accountant when I was still at college, completing my A-levels. 

3. What are the greatest barriers you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

Working in accountancy is often challenging. Thinking back, I believe my greatest barrier was at the start of my accountancy career: being an 18 year old, fresh-from-school trainee was daunting at times. Looking at more experiences team members sometimes made me feel like I had to know everything about accounting and tax from day one. The false sense of high expectation was discouraging and I was lacking confidence. However, despite this I constantly pushed myself out of my comfort zone. In time, with practice and more experience under my belt I gained the confidence I needed.

4. What advice would you give to your younger self, just starting out as a trainee accountant?

Don’t even think about other professions: accountancy is the best option out there for you. Do not be disheartened – it is ok not to know everything from day one. Be persistent and just do it.

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? 

I am heavily involved with my local church and take part in most, if not all, events organised by the church. I especially like to meet with young people and advise them on their career choices and finance decisions.

6. What drives you in your role?

I have two young boys aged six and three. I would like them to always be able to look up to me and for me to be their role model. A couple of years down the line, I would love to hear them say: “I want to be just like my dad”.

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?

Given the current situation, we are somewhat restricted in what we can do but I often take my family to walk around local AONB, Quantock Hills. We also relax and play together with Lego and Playmobil. I have a home-gym which allows me to work out whatever the weather.

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 believe we should, as a profession, embrace the technology and utilise its potential, for example in workflow organisation. However we should still retain and nurture the personal touch in terms of client relationships.