Following on from our acquisition of Malaysian based payroll experts Propay Partners, we accelerated our plans to develop a Regional Hub in Asia Pacific. Key to making the dream a reality is the appointment of Andrew Philp to the role of Executive Director for APAC.
We caught up with Andrew to find out more about the man behind this challenging new role
Congratulations on your promotion. What will your new role involve?
Thank you very much, from a practical point this will involves my family and me moving out to Kuala Lumpur later this year, which is going to be a huge adventure for us all. I spent 10 years in Southeast Asia, Jakarta and Balikpapan, as a child and am looking forward to returning to Southeast Asia to work in the region as an adult.
As Executive Director for APAC I will be responsible for managing, growing the business in the region, and ensuring our customer experience continues to be best in class as we expand. I will be supported by an extremely strong team from our current locations - including Manish, Berliza and Mel.
What key skills do you bring to the role?
I have been involved, my whole career, in the professional service industry and I believe that I can take my learnings and apply it in my new role as Executive Director for APAC.
Before joining activpayroll as Financial Controller I worked with KPMG in both Sweden and the United Kingdom. While there I worked across several industries delivering audit, compliance, and advisory work to customers. From my 10 years working in professional practice, I have extensive financial knowledge, strong understanding of key business processes, including payroll, and the complexity faced by businesses who operate in multiple locations.
Since joining activpayroll two years ago, I have managed to get a great understanding of how we provide a premium service to our global customers and how the business operates, both regionally and globally. I have also developed a keen understanding of the challenges customers face operating and navigating a global business, and how activpayroll can best support them on their individual journeys.
If I had to list three key skills that I will bring to role I’d say: · The ability to think strategically about client needs by understanding their business, established policies and key risks they face and how we can help them solve some of the challenges.
· A desire to coach, train and develop staff to upgrade their knowledge and ensure we maintain the highest technical and professional standards.
· Motivation to develop a real customer focus so that we continue to grow with them and be responsive to their needs in the APAC region.
What are you most looking forward to about your new role?
This is the coming together of the skills and experiences I’ve been honing throughout my career. Having a strong financial understanding is the best foundation to build and grow the business in the Asia Pacific region and having spent my formative years in Southeast Asia, it really feels like I’ve come full circle and am ready to take up the reins in KL.
On a personal point, I am also looking forward to learning more about the many diverse cultures that you encounter in APAC. Malaysia, where my family and I, will be based, is a melting pot of culture. It such a fabulous opportunity to learn about these cultures and see my 2 young children grow up in such a unique environment.
What do you think will be the greatest challenges you will face as over the first 12 months?
The biggest challenge will be managing all the great plans we have to develop in the region while ensuring we meet our continued growth plans; from customer growth, to strengthening our operational excellence, to developing our people, and completing the integration of our newly acquired Malaysian business.
What gives you the most satisfaction about your job?
Building relationships with people is key, I very much adhere to the old adage that people do business with people, and I am really looking forward to developing those long-lasting relationships with customers and colleagues.
In addition to the relationship element of my role I like working on complex global issues that require collaboratively working with multiple stakeholders to ensure the best form of action is taken.
How did you get into the payroll/tax industry and why?
I spent 10 years in professional services where I trained as a Chartered Accountant. I enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of helping clients navigate through different and challenging accounting/tax landscapes. When the chance to join activpayroll presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity to join an ambitious company as part of the finance team, especially knowing that they were going through such an exciting period of growth.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement outside of activpayroll?
Whilst at University studying Accounting and Finance, I decided to join the Royal Marine Reserves. The training to become a fully-fledged Commando required me to push myself physically and mentally more than I had ever done over a course of 12 -14 months. This culminated with a 30-mile run over Dartmoor, and at the end being awarded the coveted Green Beret. I can still see myself, a young 21-year-old, speed marching, with the rest of section over an Old Stone Bridge.
Being part of the Royal Marines for over five years still fills me with immense pride as I was very privileged to work and operate beside such an outstanding group of men.
Do you have any hobbies/ what do you like to do in your free time?
I like any physical activity really; some I am completely hopeless at. I really enjoy hiking and orienteering my way up mountains. I have gone on hiking holidays to Norway, Canada, France, Italy and Austria.
Who is your professional role model and why?
I have been fortunate to work with a number of aspiring people, but I would say the one thing they all had in common which I really admired was their passion to their chosen craft. I always find it hugely motivating seeing people speak/work with genuine enthusiasm for whatever they may do.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Other than my wife you mean?! It would have to be a former Royal Marine Commando, Mark Ormrod. Mark was a Royal Marine who unfortunately become a triple amputee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2007.
However, this never stopped Mark and he has gone on to achieve amazing feats such as becoming an author of award-winning book “Man Down,” a motivational speaker where he inspires others to not only overcome setbacks but to thrive from them, an Invictus Games winner and awarded an MBE for his continued charitable work to support other UK military veterans.