The life of Brian!
Article posted: 11th February 2019
When Brian Moleshead first started working at McBrides in January 1983, BBC Breakfast was just launching, seatbelts became mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers, the pound coin went into circulation and CDs went on sale.
Brian joined what was then a two-partner firm, led by John McBride and John Eldridge. His initial responsibilities at McBrides included implementing systems and compliance procedures, as well as providing accounting and business advice to the firm’s expanding client base.
He successfully completed two tests – the long outstanding liquidation of three companies and assisting a technology client to raise £2m (now £4.7m) of City finance – to become partner in early 1984.
However, life could have worked out very differently. A keen sportsman, Brian played a good standard of football and had trials for the youth team of Glasgow Rangers FC. But rugby was the only sporting choice at Brian’s senior grammar school, so football became a hobby rather than a focus. Brian also played county standard tennis at junior level and was a single figure handicap golfer.
After completing his Highers (Scottish A-levels), Brian left school aged 16 and successfully interviewed for an
accountancy apprenticeship role with a firm that paid him £200 a year and which went on to become part of Grant Thornton. He never looked back.
After a five-year training contract, he qualified and moved to Grant Thornton’s London office in 1975 leaving there as a senior audit manager. He then moved to a West End firm for a stint before arriving at McBrides.
One of Brian’s first clients at McBrides was Michael O’Mara, who went on to launch Michael O’Mara Books with his wife Lesley (see MBA June 2018): “It’s been great to work with Michael and Lesley and see their business transform from a fledging start-up publisher back in the mid-1980s through to the international business it is today.”
Brian has also worked with two of McBrides’ long-standing clients: Vernon Crisp, one of McBrides’ very first clients; and Andrew Wood, who came to upgrade the firm’s telephone service and left as a client.
During his 36-year tenure at McBrides, Brian has racked up 68 partner conferences and “too many partners’ meetings” with stays in The Grand in Jersey and George V in Paris in the early days. [Editor’s note: Lucky if it’s a Holiday Inn these days!]
Brian says that the profession has changed beyond recognition during his career: “Firms can’t rest on their laurels and just expect clients to come to them. When I first started out, an accountant was a long-standing trusted family adviser.”
“Now, clients want a different relationship. They still want trusted business advisers who provide an independent and impartial view on their business, but they have to be more service-driven. It’s no longer a case of merely crunching numbers and dealing with the compliance, but providing the right people with the right service at the right price.”
Brian is most proud of having enabled McBrides to comply with increasing rules and regulations and keeping ahead of trends to operate as an extremely professional local firm. He’s taken great pride in a comment made during a recent visit by our regulatory body that McBrides was one of the best firms ever visited.
Having had such a long career at one firm, Brian says he has no regrets “otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed so long! I’ve most enjoyed working with staff and clients, building relationships with both and seeing their careers and businesses grow and for them to become successful.”
In retirement, Brian plans to better settle into his relatively new village community, enjoying long coastal walks with his wife Carol and recently acquired cockapoo puppy Seve, spending more time with his 18-month old grandson, and reducing his golf handicap (currently +11) while playing more tennis.
Brian, it’s been a blast and we wish you well!
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