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Meet Victoria Mason, Partner at Galloways Accounting

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Hannah Jackson, Marketing & Engagement Manager at Brighton Chamber, speaks to Victoria Mason from Galloways Accounting. Headline sponsor for 2024’s Brighton Summit, Victoria reflects on the changes in the business, and the Chamber, since they first sponsored Brighton Summit in 2013.  

Hi Victoria! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?  

I’m the Office Managing Partner for Hove and Worthing, but I have several hats at Galloways.  

I help clients understand what they want to understand about their accounts and their business. I get a kick from seeing clients have a good experience – being down to earth and approachable, moving away from that traditional and stuffy image people seem to have had of accountants.  

My other hat is leading the team. I’ve always liked doing the HR and office management side of things, bringing on the team and supporting junior staff to progress and make sure we have a brilliant office culture.  

You’ve been involved in the Chamber since 2005 (almost 20 years!), what was it like when you first got involved in the Chamber?  

My first ever networking experience was actually a Chamber event – it was at The Thistle on Brighton seafront (now Jury’s Inn). The first person I spoke to asked what makes me different from other accountants. I remember learning that I need to be prepared to talk about myself and the business! 

I’ve always felt happy and comfortable at Chamber events. They were a little smaller back then, but people were still helping out and very supportive of each other.  

And how would you say your industry changed in that time?  

We have always been quite ahead of the curve from an accountancy perspective. Cardens (we merged with Galloways last year) went paperless in 2009. Technology has been the biggest change, and we’ve used technology to drive prices down on things like compliance so that we can add value in other ways; whether that’s from a tax planning or business support perspective. 

Now, everything is computer based and formulated in, to make this efficient and keep our prices competitive. Everybody says that we’re going to get replaced by AI. I do expect that there will be more and more use of the technology in things like accounts, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon given the amount of corrections and adjustments I have to do to client’s records! I’m also not sure how many clients want to spend their time or take the risk and responsibility of using AI. They much prefer to know that somebody else is dealing with those matters. So, from our perspective, it’s how we can use AI to improve our service, rather than us being replaced by it. 

What do you think you’d have been if you weren’t an accountant?  

I’d quite like to be a gardener. I love being outside. If I have unlimited time, I will be out there until it’s so dark that I can’t see. I’m just out there pottering and doing things, it’s very therapeutic. It’s amazing how time flies! I hope I get to do that someday.  

I wanted to be a vet when I was younger but did some work experience at a vets and decided I didn’t like it (I also did the same for an accountancy practice and said the same thing, so I don’t know what happened there!) 

We know Galloways has gone through a big period of growth recently, and we’re speaking to you in your shiny new Worthing office! What’s been the biggest challenge, and the biggest reward, from this period of growth? 

I was really chuffed to find us a new office space – the last one was challenging and way too small for what we needed and we only had one loo! I was always apologising for the space and saying ‘We’re moving soon!’ Now, we’re based out of Freedom Works, and it’s nice to show people that we finally did move and I wasn’t just making it up – so that’s definitely the biggest reward for me.  

We’ve just moved in so are working on making the space ours, but the plan is that eventually this will be a temporary space as we have plans to outgrow this one in the next 18 months.  

What’s next for you and the team at Galloways?  

Another big period of growth, and maybe finding our own space in Worthing!  

We are up for however we need to grow, whether that’s helping people find their exit strategy and acquiring other accountancy practices or growing the team and our clients. We’re also planning on combining the Hove and Brighton offices, so I’ll be there to help and support the team wherever I can.  

And a final fun question to finish on, because you know the Chamber is all about getting to know the people behind the business! What’s a hobby or skill you have that people are surprised to find out about you?  

Well, I think a lot of people know my skill! But I do taekwondo, and last year I got back into sparring and competing. I went to the World’s, Scottish and British, and I medalled at all of them (they are proper heavy big medals as well!)  

How did you get into taekwondo?  

I grew up loving Jackie Chan films – the original ones with bad subtitles before he got big in America. And Bruce Lee I always thought was cool, but a bit serious.  

I was actually a basketball player in the county league, up until my mid-20s. When I got out of that I thought I’d like to do a form of martial arts, because basketball was quite leg based. My brother-in-law did taekwondo, so I went along. 

As well as getting back into taekwondo, I’ve revisited basketball more recently too. A couple of years ago, my husband got me a basketball board for my birthday – I always wanted one, and we never had space in our old house (I used to practice against the wall when I was a kid). So, now I’ve got one in my garden and I’m still quite good at it! I’m teaching my girls how to play which is really nice, although I don’t know how much the neighbours appreciate the ball banging on the board!  

Brighton Summit 24/7 is on 23 October at The Corn Exchange at Brighton Dome. It’s a full day jam-packed with super speakers, wonderful workshops, brilliant breakouts, next-level networking and so much more to help us explore this year’s 24/7 theme. See what’s happening so far on our Brighton Summit schedule, and book your ticket here 

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