4:30 AM 13th December 2021
10 In 10: Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director At Iplicit.
Paul Sparkes, commercial director at true-cloud accounting software firm, iplicit,
Paul Sparkes with Betsy
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?
My morning usually starts with a walk in the Yorkshire Dales with my dog, Betsy — I find it’s a great way to get in to a positive and energised headspace in preparation for the busy day ahead.
I tend to start work at around 7.45am, when I check my emails and ensure that I have a plan for the day and nothing in my inbox to change the day ahead. It’s then generally straight into back-to-back meetings with customers, prospects, and colleagues. Where I have a little time between calls, I try to use this as productively as possible — actioning the outcomes of previous discussions.
One positive of the pandemic, for me, has been the uptake of video calls. I find it to be a fantastic, time-efficient method of communicating which saves a great deal of time during the working day.
What makes your company special?
The fact that we’ve all done this before and are doing it again as a collective of experienced people who want to make a difference, rectifying some of the wrongs that dominate this space — and, ultimately, enjoying it.
Unlike with other accounting technologies, nobody becomes a hostage to our software. There are no lengthy contracts meaning that people can leave at any time. This means that they continue to use us because they want to — as a result of our innovative nature, and levels of service. We simply cannot become complacent, and that makes what we offer, special.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
‘Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room.’ I learnt that early on in my career. You don’t need to know everything and do all the extra tasks that come up. Play to your strengths, realise what you are good at, and surround yourself with the right people. Quality combined with talent really can create something fantastic – so aim to be a good facilitator and empower people to make a difference.
Do you dress up or down for work?
Previously being suited and booted was quite closely linked to professionalism. Those boundaries don’t really exist anymore. Knowledge and manners are more important, and those elements don’t change — no matter what you happen to be wearing. Although I did used to wear a suit, these days I tend to opt for a smart-casual style.
What piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Enjoy the journey. When I was younger, I spent far too much time working every hour I could. This came at a detriment to my quality of life and now I can’t get those years back.
It’s important to have the right work ethic but to really prioritise the right balance in life.
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
Walking along the Cleveland Way - Staithes to Runswick Bay, you’ll need your thick coat at this time of year!
How do you prefer to travel for business?
It depends. The train is perfect for preventing the lost minutes and hours that often result from travelling by car. I can get to where I need to be while also making the most of precious planning and working time on the journey.
However, I do sometimes like to drive as I find it frees up my mind and allows for the more creative thinking that I don’t always have the headspace for during the normal working day. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and chat through priorities.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
Fountains Abbey — it’s a National Trust property and it’s just the most special, magical place.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?
Will & Vicks (AKA William & Victoria) in Harrogate. My favourite dish is the Lamb Henry. I now eat a mainly pescatarian diet though, so when I do choose to go, I really enjoy it all the more.
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you are away?
The views – in my opinion, the Yorkshire Dales offers some of the best scenery in the world.