Chloe Ellis

Tax Partner, Mazars

Chloe is on of Yorkshires most inspirational female leaders. She made Partner at an impressively young age within a Top 10 accountancy practice and has recently joined Mazars in Leeds to Head up their Tax team.

June 17, 2021
Jun 17, 2021
CFO Interviews

Elise Walsh has known Chloe for a number of years and always look forward to catching up. It’s clear why Chloe has been so successful in her career to date. She is a genuine people person who takes the time to get to know and understand her clients whilst also being an inspirational role model to her team.

What attracted you to a career in Tax?

If I am honest I think I fell into tax!  I wanted to continue studying after leaving university and the ACA qualification ticked a lot of boxes for what I wanted to do.  However, the audit didn’t look that exciting(!) and so I saw a role that offered ACA in tax and applied for that.  What has kept me in tax is the variety of work, the fact it is always changing and that I spend a lot of time out and about talking to clients.

What has been the biggest challenge and success in your career so far?

I think my biggest success, or what I am most proud of is that I made partner in one of the largest international accountancy firms at the age of 34, having had one child and being pregnant at the time with another. Prior to being made partner the office I was in had around 20 partners, all of whom were male and therefore this felt like a massive achievement.  The next thing after this was proving to everyone (or I felt I had to anyway) that it was the right decision to make me partner and that I am proud that I went onto build a very successful client base and team within that firm.

I think any career has challenges, but in the finance world, although it is significantly changing, has historically been a very male dominated industry.  I promised myself very early on I would never take up golf just to enhance my career (having being told that is where relationships are built and deals are made!) I am also not a big drinker, so all afternoon lunches with expensive bottles of wine are not want I want to be regularly doing.  At times it has been challenging to remind myself it is ok to be different and that you can succeed by being you.  In actual fact I think the world has moved on significantly and we now recognise diversity as a positive in a team rather than trying to create another stereotype.  I am proud that I have succeeded whilst still being me and holding onto my core values.

What do you love most about your job?

Gosh there is so much I love about my job. I love going out and meeting clients, who are so passionate about their businesses. I am not sure how many other jobs there are where one day you can be walking round a crisp manufacturer and the next day seeing how a carpet is made. However, I also love spending time with the team, helping them develop and seeing them reach their potential. I love seeing new trainees coming in and watching them develop into confident advisers. I think ultimately it comes down to loving the variety of the role and working in a team, whether that feeling I am part of the client team, or the staff team.

What have been your observations of the market over the past 12 months

What I have loved seeing over the past 12 months is that the market is far more resilient that what I think a number of us would have thought back in March 2020. Yes some businesses have had to change direction but I have absolutely loved seeing how entrepreneurial businessowners are and how quick they can change strategy to reflect market conditions, whether that be by developing a completely new product and taking it to market in a matter of months, to changing supplier because COVID has meant international supplies have not been possible.

We have had our busiest year ever in terms of volume of transactions and this shows there is still plenty of money available and people still want to invest in businesses. Overall I think most people would say whilst the last 12 months have been tough at times, my overriding observation is that the market is resilient and there have been some really great opportunities for business.

Our business is very intrigued about gender diversity and how to address the current imbalance in our boardrooms and advisor community. What are the key actions our region should focus on to make changes for the long term?

Whilst it should be recognised that we still have a long way to go on gender diversity, I think it is really important to recognise that this is only one element of diversity which needs to be considered and there are many others which should be given as much attention. In order to address the issue, my view is that we need to look at a number of areas.  We need to consider unconscious bias and help people understand this better and what can be done to reduce decisions being made with any unconscious bias.  I think it is also really important to make sure we are giving people the confidence to succeed and to me that comes through a number of measures including creating positive role models, addressing barriers such as imposter syndrome, and also being as flexible as possible.

If you could give your 21 year old self a piece of advice what would it be?

Like most people it would be not to worry so much and to believe in myself. I remember being fresh out of university and comparing myself to everyone around me. I naturally gravitated to concentrating on everyone else’s positives and my own weaknesses. I probably shouldn’t have been as hard on myself and taken the time to remind myself some of the strengths I did have.  Oh and out of work the advice would have been make the most of every opportunity around you. Life becomes more complicated with pets, a mortgage and children!

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