Born in the industrial heartland of the East Midlands, my family relocated when I was three years old to rural Pembrokeshire where we acquired a smallholding, complete with sheep, cows and chickens. Life could be best described as something out of “The Good Life”, as we settled into our new home in the land known as “Little England beyond Wales!”. I had an idyllic childhood, leaving school at the end of my “O” levels to start my accountancy career with a small local practice in Haverfordwest, but as with many teenagers I looked to the bright lights of the city and eventually ended up in Cardiff for a job with a leading international accountancy practice in their insolvency department. At that time I could hardly spell insolvency let alone tell you what it meant, but this was the start of a career I have enjoyed for the last 23 years.
In a new big city with few friends I decided to find something to enable me to meet people, have some fun and broaden my horizons. In 1986 I joined the Territorial Army as a soldier in the Royal Signals. With the Cold War waning and no hint of trouble in the Middle East at that time I was getting paid for having fun at weekends. Things did get slightly more serious through the 1990’s and 2000’s during which I spent 19 years in the TA and was eventually commissioned in 2005.
My military service has been valuable for my professional career. I have acted for many members of the Armed Forces over the last few years. It was a sad day to have to hang my boots but with the pressure of running a growing and successful business I was finding it difficult to be in six different places at the same time! Not only did the TA provide me with some of the best experiences ever, a sense of duty and an ability to deal with individuals at all levels, it also found me a husband. Tony and I have now been happily married for 16 years.
Until 1999 I had almost always worked for large accountancy practices, eventually qualifying as an Insolvency Practitioner in 1996. An opportunity arose later that year to take a partnership in a rapidly expanding practice in Northern Ireland and I jumped at the chance to try something new. This was a real challenge as my brief was to largely redesign the firm’s entire personal insolvency function. We made good progress and over the next couple of years the firm grew rapidly.
In 2002 I looked to another opportunity and set up my own practices of JonesGiles and Philip Gill & Co with two ex-colleagues. My third venture, the IVA Advice Bureau, was established at the beginning of 2007 to provide a specialist IVA firm which still had the values and client-service of more traditional methodology. Our businesses are run with a common ethos; our clients are individuals and therefore the solutions we find for them are individual solutions. I am very proud to be at the forefront of quality client-service in an industry which is often accused of being more focused on revenue rather than results.
I am now acting for over 1000 personal and corporate clients; the vast majority of whom are working through their difficulties and managing to pay a substantial proportion of their debts back to their creditors. Through my work with leading web-based industry advice forums, national TV and other media, and relationships with all key stakeholders, I am able to broker and negotiate financial settlements through a variety of different solutions for clients to fit in with their own specific circumstances, ambitions and aspirations. We look to the future rather than dwelling too much on the past and maintain a flexible attitude and approach to ongoing case management through an open-door policy. My clients can and do speak to me whenever they need to; the relationship and trust we build with each other leads me to have a 95% success rate in an industry where the norm is between 60% and 70%. This is of great benefit to my my clients and their creditors.
Although I am passionate about my work, and it does take up a large amount of time, I do make time to follow my favourite pursuits of alpine skiing (very badly!) in the winter and scuba-diving (pretty good!) during the summer. Tony and I do not have children of our own but I have three lovely step-children and four adorable grandchildren who are not allowed to call me Granny!! I’m also passionate about my beloved Wales rugby team and am never far away from the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on international days. At the moment I am trying to motivate myself to take up competitive running again but there always seems to be some excuse not to go!
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