Emma Peterson, Director FinTech Awards Wales & Finance Awards Wales Meets:
Continuing this new 11 part series of ‘Emma Meets', Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit 121 Finance & Accounting Solutions, finds out more about the sponsors of the up and coming Finance Awards Wales 2022.Finance Awards Wales is designed to recognise, attract and invest in the talented finance professionals working in Wales, showcasing the best of the best in the finance industry. In this edition, Emma meets Matt Jeffery, Tax Partner at ZEAL.
Tell me about yourself and career to date?
After graduating university, I got a place on the EY graduate tax scheme in London. Unfortunately, I had to leave the scheme early due to unexpected family commitments that meant I had to move back to Wales. I took a job at what was Broomfield & Alexander in Cardiff. I spent 5 years here learning my trade in both corporate and personal tax and gaining my professional tax qualifications.
I then decided to go back to the Big 4 with Deloitte in Bristol. I joined as an assistant manager in corporation tax. However, by chance or fate, I was moved to the Capital Allowances team. Here I learned a specialist area of taxation and trained in quantity surveying. The Deloitte capital allowances team had a lot of success in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, securing mutli-million pound capital allowances claims for their clients. By the time I left, I was Senior Manager and headed up the capital allowances team in Wales. Looking back, I had a great time at Deloitte and the skills and knowledge I developed there over 5 years, has set up the rest of my career.
In 2013, I joined Kilsby Williams as a Senior Tax Manager. Kilsby’s was an exciting opportunity. The plan was to transition to Tax Partner over a 2 to 3 year period. Again, I had a great time at Kilsby’s, working with some great people and an excellently run firm.
Bringing the skills I had learned back to Wales, it became evident that there was a significant opportunity to set up a capital allowances firm. There was no capital allowances firm based in Wales and my time at Kilsby’s had proven that there was significant opportunities to save Welsh businesses and property investors tax, through capital allowances.
In January 2017, Zeal was launched as Wales 1st Independent Capital Allowances Specialists. Fast forward 5 years, we now have offices in South Wales, Worcester & Birmingham. We employ over 30 staff and have helped clients from pub owners to the International Convention Centre Wales save tax!
My work and social life do cross over as my wife is also a director at Zeal. We work great as a team and now have a good work and life balance. My daughter turned 18 recently. Although this makes me feel old, there is the perk that she can now go to the bar! I also have two step children 10 and 12.
In my personal life, I enjoy playing golf. I am also a big football fan. Whilst I am too old now to play more than a game of 5 a side each week, I coach grassroots football for my step sons’ local team.
Can you give me an overview of your company and what you do?
Zeal are a specialist tax advisory firm, offering a range of expert tax services to clients, accountants and professional advisors all over the UK.
We are born out of capital allowances specialists, which continues to be our main service. We also have a successful R&D tax team, tax advisory experts and tax fee insurance protection consultancy.
What has been the biggest challenge the company has faced and how have you responded?
Given the specialist and technical nature of our business, plus our location in Newport, South Wales, recruiting suitably qualified staff was almost impossible. We have always had to train our team to have the knowledge to do the job. We have invested lots of time and money in staff, not always with the desired results!
How do you feel the Welsh economy will fare over the next 12 months?
I am always a glass half full type of person, so I’m confident that the Welsh economy will continue to recover and flourish after the impact Covid has had over the past couple of years. We are already seeing signs of this with clients investing in capital projects and making plans to build there businesses in 2022 and beyond.
What plans do you have for your business in 2022?
The plan for 2022 is to continue to expand our network of clients and professional partners, particularly here in Wales. Our focus this year will mainly be on the hospitality market, as many businesses in this sector seen a large rise in profits last year due to staycations. We aim to help owners of hotels, B&B’s, holiday lets and caravan parks pay the right amount of tax.
The R&D team have recently completed their 2nd year of trading and also have ambitious plans for 2022.
Why did you choose to sponsor the Finance Awards Wales 2022?
As a Welsh based business, we are delighted to be able to support and sponsor the Finance Awards Wales. Although now 5 years old, Zeal are still a business in its infancy. We hope that by sponsoring the Finance Awards, we can highlight our company and the value we can add to other finance businesses in Wales.