David Gibson is a Director of Veritas Advisory, a firm of specialist capital allowance advisors. He talks to The Industry Leaders about why he switched careers from Quantity Surveying to Capital Allowance Advisory, and why the future of business shouldn't focus only on remote work.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
For reasons that careers' advisors would frown upon!
Growing up holidays abroad were scarce for me but, from 15-18 yrs old, I joined a schoolfriend with his family each summer renting a villa in the hills of Southern France, near Juan-Les-Pins. My friend's stepfather was a Quantity Surveyor. For this shallow reason alone, I chose Quantity Surveying as a degree, not knowing what it was. It wasn't for me, but I finished the degree as I couldn't afford to drop out.
After a period of travelling and then four years of QS work, I made the best decision ever and took a pay cut to switch career and become a Capital Allowances Advisor. Twenty years on, I am now a company owner and loving the work and the varied demands that it brings.
What gets you excited about your industry?
People. I enjoy the interaction with people from different backgrounds and skillsets.
Real estate offers so many different challenges; my job involves working with investors, lawyers, agents, accountants, consultants, and crosses all sectors from medical to commercial to leisure to industrial. Each day I learn something new.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
It wasn't advice a person gave to me directly, but something a keynote speaker said at an event over 20 years ago when I was starting out. When asked what the key to his success was, he replied: "surround yourself with people better than yourself".
This comment has resonated with me ever since. Having people with different skills and views to yourself is a strength and should not be perceived as a threat.
What, or who inspires you?
Sounds mushy but my mother. When growing up, she worked four jobs at a time to keep a roof over our head, and it is only when you are older that you really appreciate that effort.
It has driven me from a young age to make the best for myself and those around me. I was always determined that I didn't want to have to be in a position in life struggling to stay afloat like my mother and to look out for those less fortunate.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in the industry?
Between myself and the team, we regularly receive industry updates on investment deals, planned developments and often correspond with HMRC on legislative matters. However, to keep on top of everything, we ensure we are proactive in sourcing opportunities and not simply expecting people to inform us.
What was the most challenging project or assignment you've worked on?
I was setting up an automated system to manage the Capital Allowances and tax savings for individual investors within an Authorised Contractual Scheme ("ACS") for a leading fund.
The system had to automatically calculate the allowances per fund, per property, per type of allowance. It then had to take into account new acquisitions, sales, and project spends throughout the year and then automatically calculate the tax savings for each investor at any time in the year. To add further complexity to the system, there were thousands of individuals investing, and the figure changed continuously. The ACS never really took off in the industry, but the system I set up has been useful for other parts of our business.
If you could start your life again, what would you do differently?
Be that little bit better at football. I had trials when younger (before every club in the country had academies), and like all boys, wanted to become a professional. Alas, it wasn't to be.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Make sure those closest to me have enough, go travelling more, and invest some of it into the charity I am a Trustee of, Candy Cane Rescue, which rescues dogs, primarily greyhounds, from the Chinese meat market.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
Every night after work, my wife and I try to set aside an hour for a glass of wine, a chat and some cheese or Italian meats (she is Italian) before eating. I love watching sports, primarily football, and enjoy doing Crossfit to keep me young(ish).
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
For people continue to value the importance of interaction, the need for places of work and not to rely on technology to work from home. It is difficult for people and organisations to grow outside of interactive environments.
How should people connect with you?
Via any of the following:
Website is www.veritasadvisory.co.uk