In Conversation With: Suzanne McArdle
Senior Tax Manager at UNW LLP
Suzanne McArdle joined UNW as Senior Tax Manager in September 2016 and helps corporate clients manage their tax reporting and compliance whilst also providing advice on a range of tax matters. A keen cyclist, Suzanne recently returned from a 350-mile trip in the Middle East.
Can you tell us about the cycling trip you’ve recently been on?
I’ve recently returned from a week-long trip to Jordan in the Middle East, where I was part of a group of 8 who cycled 350 miles from Amman to Aqaba. The journey was the length of the country and involved 6 days of riding, with one rest day where we visited the lost city of Petra. I use the term ‘rest day’ rather loosely, as we still managed to walk over 10 miles!
You must have seen some extraordinary sights, what was your highlight of Jordan?
It’s very hard to choose a favourite. Petra was amazing, but we also travelled along The King’s Highway via castles and canyons which was very picturesque, and managed to get some well-earned relaxation floating in The Dead Sea. The trip ended at The Red Sea, and by then I’d taken in two UNESCO world heritage sights and numerous famous landmarks. It made all the physical toil I had to endure completely worth it.
How was the cycling element of the trip?
Tough, and a lot more challenging than I expected. It wasn’t so much the distance, but the immensely hilly terrain we encountered along the way, in addition to some busy stretches of motorway and packs of wild dogs! However, I’m extremely pleased I managed to cycle the whole way, as I had a rather nasty accident a few weeks prior, so it was a miracle I even made the trip at all!
Can you tell us a little more about the accident?
It happened when I was on a 100-mile ride with a group of 14 friends, around 16 miles in. One of the guys in front of me skidded on diesel, I couldn’t get out of the way in time and went down with him. I definitely came off second best, but luckily my bike didn’t sustain the damage I did. A trip to the hospital and numerous x-rays later, no broken bones were found, but I had to take a week and a half off work. The timing couldn’t have been worse, as I had only been in my new job at UNW for around a month!
You recently joined UNW as Senior Tax Manager, how have you settled in? And how did the opportunity arise?
I’ve settled in well, and everyone has been extremely welcoming and friendly. It’s especially great to be part of a team again with plenty of opportunity to get out and meet clients. I’d spent the last 4 years as Head of Tax at Gentoo, one of the region’s largest housing associations, but was keen to return to accounting practice. I was already aware of UNW’s superb reputation in the marketplace, and once I had learnt more about the firm and met the people involved, the decision to join became a very easy one for me to make.
What does your new role entail?
During the initial conversations I had with UNW, one thing that particularly enticed me was the variation the role would bring. Tailored to suit my previous experience, I have been brought in to advise our corporate clients and help them manage their tax reporting and compliance, all whilst making the process as efficient and painless as possible. I get extreme satisfaction from my current role: I’m not at my desk 9 to 5, I am out in the marketplace, building relationships and working closely with the wide range and ever increasing number of clients UNW has.
You previously mentioned you were Head of Tax at Gentoo, could you expand a little further on your career background?
Despite gaining a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Durham University, I decided to enter the world of finance, as it offered good career opportunities and professional qualifications. I like working with people, so having clients appealed to me, and I’ve surprisingly transferred a lot of skills from chemistry to my tax career. I previously spent 11 years at KPMG, where I qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor and progressed to Senior Manager, so I arrived at UNW with vast experience of working in both industry and accounting practice. This will prove invaluable to me going forward.
What does the next 12 months’ look like for you, both personally and with UNW?
In both instances, extremely busy! I have joined one of the largest specialist tax teams in the region, so we have a huge variety of projects to work on as we look to further enhance our reputation in the marketplace.
From a personal perspective, my trip to Jordan was just the start. I already have further trips booked that will see me cycle in Gran Canaria, Majorca, the Scottish coast and Arran, building up to a very hilly 631-mile cycle through the Massif Central in France next summer. It will be a huge challenge, but one I’m really looking forward to, just so long as I stay injury-free!
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