LIFECYCLE MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: AN INTERVIEW WITH RUKHSANA ADAM

2nd June 2021

This week we chat to Dr Rukhsana Adam, CTA PhD, MBA BEng(Hons), Founder of Mirandus Accountants and Head of the London office.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Chartered Tax Adviser, named in the Top 50 Women in Accounting 2020. With an MBA in Finance and a PhD in Physics and Social Sciences, I bring a unique perspective to accounting – combining a broad holistic and logical approach to small business clients with the ability to recognise new and innovative ways to achieve desired goals and targets.

I have more than 15 years’ track record at Director level of successfully turning around under-performing businesses, mixing expertise with empathy, helping companies grow and fulfil their potential. I am also equally passionate about female entrepreneurship, and actively support women in business.

What’s the first thing you do at the start of your working day?

Once I get into the office, the first 10 minutes I speak to my staff, we usually get a coffee and have a non-work related chat. I know from working at big companies that when your boss walks in and doesn’t speak to you or look happy, you think ‘What sort of day am I going to have?’

We follow with a 10 minute chat about who’s working on what, what are the challenges, whether they need any help and what the technical issues are. Once a week we have a formal team meeting where we minute business activities and who is assigned to what task. We work in an open plan office so it’s an open and dynamic work environment.

How do you plan out your day?

Before I go into the office each day, between 6 – 7.30am, I think about the strategic direction of the business, cashflow and business development. Having an MBA teaches you to question the value of your day-to-day activities to see how each adds value to your overall business strategy. If it is not adding any value, you’re wasting your time. If it’s not doing anything positive or moving you in the direction you want your business to go, get rid of it.

Then I’m ready to see staff, focused and energised to start my work day.

A good old fashioned to do list, or more go with the flow?

To do list all the way to keep me on track and focused.  On a typical day I usually have one or two client meetings, which either means new opportunities or going through the accounts with clients or meeting a client with a funder. And you know what it’s like after a meeting – your to do list only gets longer!

What’s your desk and workspace like?

Paper everywhere due to my to do lists – and lots of half full coffee cups!

What is the big issue affecting your sector at the moment?

Making Tax Digital ramping up over the next 9 months is a serious challenge, even for a practice like Mirandus Accountants, which has been digital from day 1.  Compliance reporting will only increase for both personal and businesses taxes, so planning for the right processes and infrastructure now is essential.

The fallout from Covid grant funding and loans will also cause some headaches, both in terms of accounting for them properly in respect of sole traders and limited companies, as well as the fall-out from increased tax bills and payments for many years to come.  And all this in a shifting tax landscape as a result of the pandemic and Brexit – both advice and compliance needs will be demanding across the board.

Do you have a business niche?

Mirandus is both a chartered accountancy and a chartered tax advisory practice partnering with start-ups and small businesses up to a turnover of around £10-15 million.  Having both tax and accountancy expertise in-house means our approach is less transactional and more proactive and holistic.

Our tax-led, holistic approach means we provide ‘cradle to grave’ services. Our niche is working with business owners throughout their business lifecycle and providing that all round support – from start-up, to growth, to maturing, and then selling or passing on the business to the next generation. How a business operates during the lifecycle is led by both the business and business owner’s needs, and we are in a fortunate position where we can provide tailored tax advice going beyond business operations, such as advising on inheritance tax planning and profit extraction for family members. 

What do you do to escape the world of tax and accounts?

Tax is my passion, and as it is ever-changing, it is my main reading fodder! I also love to cook – reignited as a result of Covid and being forced to eat in!

Have you always been interested in numbers and can you remember your first calculator?  

My path to tax and accountancy I suspect is more unconventional than most! My career started with an Engineering degree, followed by a PhD in Physics and Social Sciences. A PhD is the very best training you can have, as it teaches you to explain complexity in simple language. I love the idea of having all this complexity and simplifying and explaining it to somebody, so I guess it is no surprise I went down the chartered tax adviser route!

I have always been involved in numbers in some way or other before founding Mirandus.  As a child, I used to do bookkeeping for my dad – we had these calculators in Malawi, Africa, where I grew up, which were mechanical beasts, they were very noisy and heavy to operate. Ours was blue with a massive red handle and big keys – you would have to punch the numbers, pull the handle and it would print out your numbers on a roll of paper!

Tell us something that not many people know about you?

I am a Churchill Fellow for which I was given an award by John Major. The Churchill Fellowship is an opportunity to learn through travel, no matter what industry or sector you are in, and to bring back your knowledge to the UK for good use.  I spent six months at Sydney University post my PhD.  I also got the opportunity to travel around Australia for three months meeting various academics who are world renowned for their expertise in Social Sciences.  I was a guest on Australian Broadcasting Radio – Prime Time discussing the social impact of a proposed new airport in Sydney.

How has your practice benefited from being part of the Lifecycle accountancy network?

At Mirandus, we have really appreciated having the Lifecycle network of specialists at our disposal which have always been of high calibre and also really enjoy online and in person events when held.  Lifecycle is a very valuable part of our network to help our wide ranging client base.

Find out more about the Lifecycle network at www.lclifecycle.co.uk or get in touch on 03300 242 333.

03300 242 3333