He’s worked for several of the UK’s big-hitting firms.
But now accountant Jonathan Hill is happy helping Huddersfield’s small businesses flourish as managing director of his own growing practice.
Jonathan, 53, a qualified chartered management accountant, is managing director of Pierrepont, based at Meltham’s Carlile Institute Business Centre, from where he provides a range of accountancy and business planning services to customers ranging from retailers, builders and plumbers to internet-based companies and farmers.
Jonathan is also the man behind HD Business Works, a community interest company providing free advice to small businesses across the HD postcode area.
He is joined in the venture by other local professionals in areas such as PR, sales and marketing, import and export support, fleet management, customer satisfaction and website design.
The idea is that small business owners can visit the HD Business Works website to contact the relevant expert and arrange for a free consultation face-to-face or over the phone to get advice on issues affecting them.
Says Jonathan: “In my case, they may want to ask questions such as should I run a company car? Should I be a limited company or sole trader? The aim is to help make Huddersfield the place to do business.”
Jonathan’s focus on his small business clients contrasts with his own accountancy career working for some of the UK’s corporate big-hitters.
Jonathan was born and brought up in Nottingham – he’s been a Notts County fan for 40 years. He gained a degree in industrial economics at Coventry University before being tempted by the bright lights of London to work for an accountancy firm based on Oxford Street.
“It was in the 1980s when the expansion of the City meant London was an interesting and thriving place to be,” he says.
After three years of the daily half-hour commute, Jonathan moved back north to be nearer his family and to enjoy “a better quality of life”.
Jonathan went on to work for Marconi Defence Systems. He says: “I had been working in a practice where you would see the client for about two weeks of the year when doing their audit. Then you wouldn’t seen them for another 12 months. I wanted to be involved in the day-to-day nuts-and-bolts of industry.”
Jonathan’s time with Marconi coincided with the first Gulf War. “Sometimes it’s difficult to relate to the products your firm provides, but I was seeing them on the TV news every night,” he says.
Jonathan spent more than four years with Marconi, latterly working in the consumer electronics side of the business when the company was prototyping video telephones. “It was way ahead of its time,” he says.
Later, Jonathan worked for a subsidiary of pub company Regent Inns.
“We were the in-house contractor, taking banks and post offices and converting them into Walkabout bars and Jongleurs comedy clubs,” he says.
Jonathan also spent three years as senior management accountant with Uxbridge-based fire resistant building products specialist Cape plc.
Nine years ago, Jonathan decided to set up his own practice, applying the skills and experience gained over 21 years in industry and 30 years as an accountant to benefit Huddersfield’s small business sector.
“My background in industry means I can relate to the issues that affect businesses on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “I’ve never regretted making the move. We have a great team here.
“It’s great working with the clients we have. It can be demanding in terms of time pressures, but I am working with some great personalities and I get real satisfaction seeing their businesses progress and grow.”
Says Jonathan: “Many of or clients value our advice and seek a ‘second opinion’ from us.
“Not all clients are the same and we tailor our services accordingly. Most of our clients are in West Yorkshire, but I have a client in Australia as well.
“You get to know your client and the business. Business is first and foremost about people and in some ways the product or service is secondary.
“You have to know and like the person you are dealing with. Trust is also important.
“Helping them with the finances means they can focus on what they’re good at.”
Jonathan is full of praise for the small business operator, often battling against massive odds.
And he’s genuinely concerned at the weight of regulation small firms face.
“There are certain sectors that appear glamorous such as owning a bar or cafe – but it means long, long hours and lots of hard work,” he says.
“What helps is that they all have belief and passion for what they do.”
Assessing the local economic scene, Jonathan says: “People are generally busy, they’re not scratching around for work. Speaking to tradespeople, a lot of them have full order books for the year – but there’s still a question of liquidity and the construction sector seems to be see-sawing.
“Generally, things are a lot more buoyant, but there is a degree of caution, partly because of the EU referendum.”
Jonathan moved to the Carlile Business Centre in February last year, having previously run Pierrepont from his home at Shepley.
The company name is French – a nod to his wife Jackie who tutors French and Spanish. It means “stone bridge” – a reference to its original address at Stonebridge Walk.
Jonathan now heads a team of five and is recruiting for a further two staff.
“Since moving to Meltham, we are very much becoming part of the community,” he says.
“In just one week from moving here, we took two clients from Helme, just outside Meltham. It’s a nice, thriving community here.”
As well as following the fortunes of Notts County, Jonathan is a member of Shepley Tennis Club, but plays for pleasure not in pursuit of trophies.
He also admits an addiction to puzzles, quizzes and sudoku.
It seems you just can’t keep him away from the numbers game.
Role: Managing director
Family: Married to Jackie with son Leo,
20, and daughter Sophie, 16
Car: Ford Focus
Holidays: Motoring holidays in the south of France and Scotland
First job: I used to live in a very rural area so I worked on a pig farm, a turkey farm and a mushroom farm!
Best thing about the job? Working with some great people in businesses in the Huddersfield area and helping to take their businesses forward
Worst thing about the job? Seeing the over-regulation of small businesses and the impact it has on them. Things like the National Living Wage and auto-enrolment create an extra administrative burden
Business tip: Businesses are about people. Know, like and trust people – and realise there is support out there.
Work: Accountancy services
Site: Carlile Institute Business Centre,
Huddersfield Road, Meltham
Phone: 01484 900349
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org