Last year was a big one for us, adding 25 new features to AccountancyManager and smashing targets across every team. We started this year in a stronger position than ever, with an ever-growing client base and some pretty exciting plans for 2021.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team and what they’ve managed to achieve in the past year. Alex and I are committed, as always, to revolutionising the accounting industry and our vision is a world in which every accountant is utilising technology to eliminate limitations. This year’s promotions, role changes and new hires are testament to our success in 2020 and I can’t wait to see what the team achieves next – they’ve set the bar high.”James Byrne, AM CEO
We take great pride in recognising the contributions of each member of the AM team, reflected by a number of recent promotions and role changes – as listed below. We also continue to grow the team in response to the needs of our users and have welcomed six new AMers since the start of 2021 – also listed underneath.
A warm welcome to Kevin, Mike, James, Luke, Joshua and Alice
Kevin McCallum – Non-Executive Director
We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Kevin McCallum to our board as our first Non-Executive Director.
Kevin is Chief Commercial Officer of FreeAgent, the online accounting software platform for the UK’s smallest businesses and their accountants
He has worked within the accounting software industry for over 20 years and joined the FreeAgent team in 2010, playing an instrumental role in the company’s growth. This includes managing the relationship with NatWest, who acquired FreeAgent in 2018.
Working closely with AccountancyManager’s senior management team and drawing on his wealth of industry knowledge, Kevin will be assisting us with our business strategy and plans for growth whilst retaining our existing strong focus on improving the business lives of all our users.
Mike Tipping – Senior Developer
Mike joins us as Senior Developer and brings over 15 years of commercial software development experience to the team. Throughout Mike’s impressive career to date, he’s been responsible for designing, building, hosting and providing on-going support for many high-demand sites for high-profile clients. Mike is a self-confessed gongoozler (someone that enjoys watching canals and canal boats – you learn something every day) and takes scouts on canal trips in his spare time.
James Reilly – Business Analyst
James is our new Business Analyst and will be the theoretical ‘central hub’ of AM, connecting us all and coordinating projects across all teams. James brings experience in agile environments and will focus on optimising our internal processes, discovering new opportunities and delivering on our roadmap.
Joshua Fennell – QA Tester
For two days last year, the desks in the main office were moved into a classroom configuration – and a solemn lull descended… the development team and support team were in intensive quality assurance training.
While the majority of the AM team are now quality assurance/ISTQB trained and will continue QA-ing, Joshua’s arrival was met with a collective sigh of relief. Joshua joins AM as our designated QA Tester. What does that mean for you? Not only will new releases be quicker, but our already high standards are about to get even higher.
Luke Rayner – Senior Developer
Luke joins our ever-expanding development team to assist in creating new integrations, extra functionality and all-round system improvements. Luke will also be working on other projects that AM is currently exploring – so watch this space.
Alice Brierley – Marketing Assistant
Alice is our newest recruit. She’ll be filling Sophie’s humongous shoes for a few months whilst Sophie is on maternity leave, then staying on with us once Sophie returns, as the third member of our marketing team.
Alice has a background in digital marketing, working for both retailers and wholesalers. She has helped to develop ecommerce websites through SEO techniques and has extensive experience in email and social media marketing.
A lot of what our marketing team does crosses over into helping our existing user base optimise their use of AccountancyManager, with webinars, articles, social media and our monthly newsletter – all of which Alice will be organising.
… and who’s moving up at AM?
Jonathan Stobart – Head of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships
If you saw any of our webinars last year or listened to our podcasts, you’ll know of Jonathan. Jonathan joined AM around this time last year as Marketing Manager, previously spending 10 years in marketing at Prime Accountants Group, with offices across the West Midlands. As well as managing the team behind 20 online events, 60 articles and countless update emails, Jonathan has made some great relationships across the industry.
With this promotion, Jonathan is now fully responsible for AccountancyManager’s marketing activity and brand profile within the accounting industry. The ‘Strategic Partnerships’ element of the title demonstrates AM’s commitment to playing a larger role within the accounting community. Jonathan will now lead discussions regarding partnerships with other software vendors, accountancy and bookkeeping associations and collaborations with industry thought leaders.
Marcus Bellis – Head of Sales
Marcus Bellis’ arrival at AM early last year hailed a new era for sales at AccountancyManager. As well as bringing up the average age of AM employees, Marcus has introduced a more personable and proactive approach to onboarding new users. Under Marcus’s leadership, the sales team have gone above and beyond previous expectations and have assisted a record number of new users to come onboard with AccountancyManager throughout 2020.
He welcomed Nevdish to the team in March last year and has just upgraded Dennis, Neil and Nevdish’s roles to Sales Account Managers – reflecting their closer relationships with both new and existing users.
Rachel Blacklock – Head of Support
Rachel won’t thank us for saying this, but if you haven’t spoken to her yet, give her a call. You won’t find a more helpful or knowledgeable person (though Liston and Matt on her team come close). Rachel has been leading the support team since May 2018 and has dramatically increased the amount of support resources within AM.
Rachel and her team consistently maintain a user satisfaction rating of between 98% and 99%. Rachel, Liston and Matt are all quality assurance/ISTQB trained and play an important role in taking user needs to the development team and testing updates and new features prior to release.
This promotion recognises her impact beyond her team and across the business and couldn’t be more deserved.
Josh Brown – VP of Development
Josh joined AM in 2019 as Development Team Lead – and we’re not sure he’s slept since. Josh has more than proved himself, optimising the workflow of the development team and overseeing our record number of feature releases. He has also grown his team from 6 to 10.
In recognition of the difference Josh has made and his dedication to continuously improving and growing the software, Josh has been promoted to VP of Development. (We haven’t started randomly crowning people vice presidents – we’re not JP Morgan – it’s a development thing apparently.)
Charlie Henshaw, Ed Billington and Martin Lazarov – Developers
Charlie is among the longest serving AMers, joining us as Junior Developer in 2018. Ed was with us on placement between 2018 and 2019 while he studied for his degree in computing. After leaving us to finish his exams and graduate (with a first), he returned during lockdown 1.0. Martin joined the team in May 2019.
Charlie, Ed and Martin have all played huge parts building AM’s new features over the years – if it wasn’t for their work, we’d all be out of a job. All three have now progressed to fully fledged developers, shaking off the junior label once and for all.
Sophie Neal – Senior Marketing Executive
Sophie has been the beating heart of the marketing department since she arrived at the end of 2019. Sophie’s the kind of person that’s already done that thing you’d forgotten to ask her for. Technically, her title should be Social Media Manager, Data Analyst, Events Manager, Project Manager, Team Administrator. But Jonathan’s kept it simple and added a ‘Senior’ onto her title instead.
Sophie is about to go on maternity leave for the birth of her second child, but assures us she’ll be back. (Thank goodness.)
Look out for two new senior developers, two new junior developers, and two additional members to our support team… coming soon.
Liston Lane and Matt Kavanagh- Support Advisor to Support & QA Specialist
Liston is a familiar voice to many AM users having joined the team in 2018. Liston has a passion for helping AM users. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about the system and plays a key role in testing new features before they go live.
Matt joined the support team in 2019 and has since then built strong relationships with many AM users. Matt is a car fanatic and plays the role of an engineer with users; helping them when they get stuck, advising them on new functionality but unlike your car mechanic… there’s no big bill after talking to Matt.
Both Liston and Matt have gone above and beyond within their roles recently and have been recognised with new titles and responsibility. They’ll now be responsible for testing, testing and more testing of new features before they go live.