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Meet the rural team: Kelly Wakeham

Many of our agricultural team hail from farming families so they understand the industry and are best placed to help our clients meet their challenges. We sat down with Kelly Wakeham, assistant manager in our Torquay office to find out more about her. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what your family farms.

I live on my family’s mixed 900-acre farm in South Devon which consists of dairy, beef, sheep and arable, so plenty to be kept busy with! I spend numerous evenings and weekends milking cows and helping with any other jobs that need doing. I enjoy horse riding and have a Welsh Section D mare and thoroughly enjoy getting involved with Young Farmers, having been a member for many years. I’m currently the chairman of my local club and some of my highlights over the years include attending the English Winter Fair in Staffordshire, going on a scholarship to Latvia and seeing the farming enterprises in America.

Why did you choose to join the accountancy profession?

I chose accountancy as a career because I enjoy problem solving and finding solutions. I also enjoy helping businesses and for me accountancy offered a professional qualification whilst working on the job. I went into the profession after leaving school and have done my AAT and ACCA qualifications. I enjoy working and learning at the same time.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

My proudest moment so far was being a prize winner, achieving the highest mark worldwide in a tax exam for my Chartered Certified Accountancy qualification.

What are the challenges you feel the farming industry is currently facing?

There are many challenges the farming industry faces:
• The reduction of the BPS scheme
• Farm health and safety – there have been an increased number of fatalities and farming and fishing are considered the most dangerous sectors in the UK
• Climate change, which is something all industries are going to have to consider as well as us as individuals

Are there any changes you would like to see in the farming industry?

Farming is an amazing industry and one for us to be proud of. With fewer people involved in the industry and modernisation than 100 years ago, less and less people are connected to farming. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we share our stories and promote farming so people know where their food comes from – milk doesn’t just magically arrive on the shelves in the supermarket!

Tell us a bit about your role at PKF Francis Clark.

My role at PKF Francis Clark is assistant manager focusing on rural businesses. As a farmer’s daughter, I have first-hand knowledge of the issues affecting the sector and this enables me to deliver tailored, practical advice in accounts and tax compliance. I enjoy helping clients to overcome challenges that they face.

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