Georgia Gibson-Smith | Manager - Business Tax

From Music to Menzies

You have an entire career to be an accountant, which is why you don’t need to have studied it to become one! 

What is your story so far at Menzies?

I started studying for the ACA in my mid-late twenties after a career change. Once I began my training, I realised I enjoyed tax, and signed up to the ACA CTA joint pathway. I trained in a smaller Firm and worked my way to become Head of Compliance Services and part of the senior management team there. I oversaw accounts and tax primarily for small and medium-sized businesses, and eventually decided I wanted to make the most of my CTA and become a full-time tax adviser.  

I spent a while deliberating over where to move to, as I wanted to find the right fit with the team and culture. I knew from my interviews that Menzies felt like a place I could settle into well, and I had the chance to meet my team before joining and knew I’d made the right decision. 

I now work in the business tax team primarily in Heathrow and Leatherhead and work on a variety of tax advisory projects for owner-managed businesses. 

What did your career look like before choosing accounting?

Before choosing accounting, I was a freelance piano accompanist. I studied academic music at university and completed a postgrad in music performance, and went on to freelance around London, the rest of the country and occasionally abroad, working with singers, instrumentalists, choirs, and as a chamber musician, alongside a part-time music admin role.  

It was a tough decision to change careers as I’d spent my whole life training as a musician, but the freelance lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for me in the end, and I craved not just the stability of a full-time job but also more tangible career progression. I had always loved numbers and, perhaps weirdly, enjoyed taking exams, so the ACA seemed like a good fit. Music also comes with an interesting set of transferrable skills, possibly the most useful being that I had worked with a huge variety of people and characters, so it was easy to jump straight in with clients.  

Leaving full time music behind was bittersweet, but I am still able to enjoy music (arguably more so now!), playing the clarinet in orchestras in Surrey and London, and playing piano in my free time.

What do you love about working at Menzies?

One of the great things about working at Menzies is that I have a full working week to focus on tax and achieving my career goals, but I have plenty of time outside of work to pursue my hobbies and spend time with my family, including flexibility when required if I need to leave early on a concert day for example, or take an extended lunch to walk my dog! 

Within work, I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of tax advisory projects which means every day is different, I’m constantly learning, and I can see how my work has a positive impact on clients. I also support the more junior members of the team in their training and development which is always rewarding.  

The culture at Menzies is one that encourages you to be yourself and to be your best whilst enabling you to pursue your own goals in a flexible, supportive, and sociable environment. I personally enjoy the pressure of deadlines and having lots to do, but I’m always grateful resource and support is there if needed. Despite working across multiple offices, we foster close-knit teams and, from my first day, everyone I’ve met, from trainee to partner, has been extremely welcoming and friendly.