Meet our new Director of Audit and Assurance

Following the promotion of Ben Hayes to partner, Michael Laws has stepped into the role of Director of Audit and Assurance. Since joining Wenn Townsend on our highly successful graduate trainee program Michael has qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and become one of our audit managers, before moving into his current role. Highly regarded by his clients and colleagues alike, we spoke to Michael about becoming director and what his plans for the audit department look like.

What has your journey to director of audit looked like? 
During my first 18 months at the firm I was fortunate to get a solid grounding in the accounts department, and I then built up my audit experience as I started to work on increasingly interesting and complex clients, of all sizes, sectors and types.

I was trusted with a small portfolio of audit clients to manage shortly after qualification, which was challenging but very rewarding. Over the last two to three years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the management and planning aspects of the position which has led me into my new role.

I am grateful to the partners for the faith they have shown in making me director, but just as importantly the trust and support provided by all my colleagues over the last seven years up to this point. Their encouragement and help enabled me to get here.

What changes might clients expect now you’re director of audit? 
I am very lucky to have Ben’s full support in taking on his directorship and I plan to pick up exactly where he left off and continue to develop our practical, friendly and straightforward audit approach. We want to keep growing the team and our client base without losing what our clients value in us.

The department has changed and adapted to the modern audit world a lot during the time I have been here, and I’m excited to play a bigger part in driving more change in the future, whether that be implementing new audit tool technology or just continuing to make sensible recommendations to our clients as part of the audit process.

In short, I hope that our clients won’t notice this change at all, but there might be a few more of them.

How would you describe your job role? What does a day-to-day look like? 
My main focus is ensuring that we as a department can continue to deliver compliant, efficient and useful audits for our clients. Part of doing that is making the best use of the great expertise we already have within the audit team, and ensuring it is shared around and passed on so that the whole team keeps developing.

My day-to-day has become increasingly varied over the last few months, and I find myself having even more opportunities to meet with and talk to clients, both existing and prospective. These are often the most rewarding interactions and there is always more to learn about our diverse portfolio of clients.

What advice have you been given from colleagues over the years? What advice would you give to new starters hoping to emulate your success?
I have been trained by so many great colleagues who were very tolerant of my many questions in the early days, and still are to this day! Many of them are still with the firm and I continue to learn from them. Whenever I have a problem or need technical advice there is always someone at the firm I can call on.

I would advise a new starter exactly what I was told when I joined the firm; keep asking questions and learn as much as you can from every task you are assigned. The extra effort you put in in the early days really does compound over time.

What does your future at Wenn Townsend look like? What do you hope to achieve in the role? 
My main focus is to go on in such a way that I enjoy my role in the next few years as much as I have in the last seven. I hope to create an environment where people can learn quickly and develop a fulfilling career within the firm.

Last but not least I am aware that I still have a huge amount to learn and am fortunate to be in an environment where I can keep learning from all my colleagues. My only plan is to keep doing that.

Source: Wed, 29 Nov 2023 13:22:26 +0100