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David Whitson-Black: Global Head of Talent Development at Azets

Once a month, the Accounting Influencers podcast is featuring a prominent accounting leader. This month we interview David Whitson-Black, Group Head of Talent Development at Azets, an international business and one of the UK’s top 10 accountancy firms. Starting his career in people development 18 years ago, David now leads Azets Talent development team across the UK & Europe.

David has strong experience in people development and has managed learning and development teams in the financial and professional service sectors. He is passionate about developing the best talent no matter where they are on their journey from early careers right through to senior management. His expertise ranges from leadership development to succession planning, talent strategy, coaching and mentoring, career pathing and performance management. Shownotes:

  • The symptoms of an accounting firm that require a learning and development function
  • Why there is more to an accounting role than technical competence
  • The reasons why many accountants stop their learning and developing (beyond technical) after they’ve achieved qualification
  • Why some accountants struggle to know what career they want or what’s achievable with an accounting firm
  • The role of a career coach or mentor for accounting professionals to show them what’s possible and take them on a journey they’ll be fulfilled by
  • What it takes to launch an L&D function in an accounting firm and what components make up a strong L&D program
  • Why it’s important to remain coachable and teachable if you want to inspire and mentor others in your role
  • The issue of boardroom or executive level influence for non-partners and heads of functions like HR and L&D in an accounting firm
  • The role of values in a strong accounting firm culture and why collaboration throughout the firm to shape them is critical
  • The frustration of motivating traditional accountants to change, upskill and adapt
  • How soft skills like business development and relationship building are vital in successful accounting firms
  • Why there are more challenges for accountants to win business now than ever before
  • What best practice recruitment looks like to bring the right kind of talent into your accounting firm
  • Insights into how good recruitment leads to a successful succession plan for accounting firms
  • How to best support the older, more experienced professionals in a growing accountancy firm
  • Words to inspire new recruits to your accounting firm and setting their expectations
  • A strong driver of corporate executive presence in a profession like accounting.

When not working David likes spending time with his family, records music (singing) and has an interest in graphic design.

Contact David on LinkedIn