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This time we’re speaking to Paul Blakeman, our newest recruit to the Claritas Tax team. Based in our ever-growing Manchester office, Paul has joined our hugely successful Innovation Reliefs team as Assistant Manager. 

We spent five minutes with Paul finding out more about his work experience, the experience he’s bringing to his new role and how he thrives on ‘giving back’ his time to support his local community.

Paul, welcome to Claritas and thank you for finding the time in your first week, to take part. Let’s start with a simple question to begin with –

Q1 – Why tax and why Claritas?

I fell into accountancy rather by accident after completing a Francophone Studies degree at Nottingham University. I started off on the audit graduate programme at KPMG and whilst this was a useful experience, whenever I sat the tax exams for the ACA, I always found that a lot more interesting!

I transferred to the tax team at KPMG and was placed in the Innovation Taxes team, and instantly loved it. After completing my ACA, I wanted to branch out and get a wider corporate tax advisory experience and I also wanted to embark on the CTA qualification, so I moved to Mazars who supported me through this.

However, after around a year and a half there, I realised that I wanted to specialise in R&D going forward and I was lucky that Claritas had an opening for an R&D specialist.

The role was exactly what I was looking for, and after the interview with Matt and Caroline I knew this was the place for me, so I was very pleased when they offered me the job around an hour later! I am certainly not going to miss filling out a timesheet, thank goodness Claritas has a refreshing approach to work/life balance.

Q2 – You’ve worked for larger accountancy firms in the past, what experience will you be bringing to your new role at Claritas?

I think having worked in both audit and tax roles, the key experience I can bring to my new role is project management and building on client relationships.

One thing that audit gave me which perhaps some of my future tax colleagues lacked is the chance to speak to clients from day one, in person and at their offices, as well as over the phone/on video calls. Being able to confidently talk to clients and build those relationships is going to be key to not only helping clients with their claims, but ensuring we get the maximum benefit too.

Also, throughout my professional career I have had to manage a variety of different projects at the same time, which will be invaluable as Claritas continues to win more and more work!

Q3 – If you could tell a younger version of yourself two important life messages, what would they be?

 Only two! There are so many I could choose from, but I would say:

  • Read as much as possible from different sources to get a balanced view on everything in life and to understand different people and perspectives.
  • Life doesn’t revolve around money!

Q4 – What do you like to do away from tax in your spare time?

I only work four days a week, so I am fortunate to have more spare time than most people. I love to read, cuddle our rescue dog (a stubborn but cute chug), spend time with my wife Daria, cycle, play and watch football and I try and volunteer at least one day a week at various places.

I was honoured to be nominated for fundraiser of the year in the Manchester Young Talent Awards in 2019 ( I love giving back to the community through volunteering and fundraising. I think everybody who can contribute in some shape or form, should do – it’s so rewarding and really focusses your attention on the things that really matter in life.

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