10 in 10 - Sam NewtonSam Newton, co-founder of Gravitate Accounting, a firm revolutionising and personalising accountancy services with a digital-first approach, is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as we give him just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.
What does a typical working day for you involve?
Everyday is different for both myself and the whole team, we love the variety of things we get to work on with our broad mix of clients because we immerse ourselves in their worlds. I typically start my day with exercise - either running or biking - and will check through my emails as soon as I get to my desk.
We offer outsourced Financial Director services for several clients, which means that some of my time each day is involved in either preparing for or attending board meetings. As we’ve grown over the last few years, so too have our clients, and it’s important that everyone at Gravitate Accounting - including myself - continually work closely with them. That’s the bit of the job I’ll always love! We do a lot of work to prepare our clients for future changes which could impact their business, such as recession-proofing; so I’ll always spend a bit of my day ensuring that we’re sharing the most relevant and up-to-date details.
What makes your company special?
We are working really hard to change the perceptions of typical accountants and do something a bit more personable and fun – we have a very modern outlook on business. Our digital approach means we work with some great technology, freeing up both our time and that of our clients so we can focus on growing and strengthening their business. We’ve scrapped timesheets and charging by the hour and have instead adopted an approach that puts our clients first.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
The core values running throughout our business are: enjoy what we do, don’t do things by halves, be kind, be bold, spend valuable time with friends and family and work smarter. We have flexible contracts too, so people have a really good work/life balance.
I believe this translates into seeing fantastic, sustainable results for clients because the way we work is a real reflection of who we are as people: what you see is what you get. I think a lot of people find that very refreshing and most businesses just want to talk to real people who have their best interests at heart and who they can genuinely get along with. The fact we are offering them an effective service that will save them time, while being upfront about who we are, is probably our biggest selling point.
Do you dress up or down for work?
We’re not the typical suit-wearing, briefcase-holding accountants, we wear our own hoodies and merch most of the time! This has been really welcomed by clients and our team because it fits very much with our ethos.
What piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I’d say the most important piece of advice would be to follow the route that feels right, ask questions along the way and don’t be afraid to be innovative in your approach to a particular job role. It’s important that we are entrepreneurial to strive forward. At Gravitate Accounting, we speak with local schools and colleges often about the misconceptions of being an accountant and show how, using the right skills, it can be rewarding and enjoyable in so many different ways.
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
Currently, our favourite place to go for a team away day is Golffang, a crazy golf venue in Sheffield where we can all relax and enjoy time together as a team. We often go for after work drinks and have also enjoyed team days at Go Ape and Crystal Maze. I think social time like this is really important.
When not heading out to other Yorkshire venues, we’ve actually made sure our office is fun to work in too, with mini golf, a Sheffield mural and a beer fridge. When we set up the business in 2019, we implemented great employee benefits like bonuses, profit sharing, a flexible working policy and plenty of social events because employee wellbeing and teamwork is crucial to us. We’ll continue to find fun things to do as a team, it hugely helps with morale and means we can proudly say that we have a 100% employee retention rate.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
I would love to say bike but I’ve not quite built up the stamina yet, so I typically travel by car. I tend to listen to a podcast or book via audible on journeys. James Ashford, a pioneer in digital accounting, has some great books and the Diary of a CEO with Stephen Bartlett is a great listen.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
I’m Sheffield through and through and feel so lucky to be close to the countryside where I can spend plenty of time with family, going running, out walking or being out with the little one. The golf course is also always a favourite place of mine. I’m the president of Hillsborough Golf Club currently, so I spend a fair bit of time walking 18 holes. It can be relaxing but also stressful if it isn’t going to plan!
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?
I love my food and there are loads of places in Sheffield. I tend to stay local to our office as it’s becoming a real haven for great food. The best for a swanky meal is Joro, a restaurant in a former shipping container, and it has an incredible tasting menu. I’m sure they will get a Michelin star soon. Domo is a great spot for slightly more casual dining. To be honest, I could list loads of options because Kelham Island is now absolutely filled with fantastic bars and restaurants.
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?
I love travelling and enjoy visiting other places both in the UK and abroad. But nothing ever beats Yorkshire for the mix of city life and countryside. I always look forward to returning.