From joining Duncan & Toplis as an apprentice to becoming Head of Business Services, Kayleigh Williams has an in-depth knowledge of the company. Having worked as a financial controller for SMEs and owner-managed businesses, she brings in-house experience and a wealth of business expertise to her new role.
Kayleigh began her career at Duncan & Toplis over 10 years ago. She started out as an Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) trainee and over the next seven years, she became a certified accountant and progressed to the role of portfolio manager.
At Duncan & Toplis, Kayleigh developed her skills as an accountant and in 2015, she decided to move into a new role as an in-house financial controller at a local SME to learn more about how businesses operate from the inside. She worked there during a crucial transition period for the company, which put her at the forefront of the challenges facing small business owners in competitive markets.
Kayleigh was keen to gain a wealth of knowledge during this stage of her career, so she moved to another business in a similar role. This hands-on role saw her managing a new and growing team while building a comprehensive business strategy from the ground up. Her work resulted in huge investments for the company, putting them in a great position in their market.
“I learnt a lot from my experiences in-house. Owner-managed SMEs need to stay competitive which is a real challenge for internal finance teams, however this gave me a great insight into the inside mechanics of a business and what it’s like to be on the ground.”
Kayleigh maintained a close relationship with the Duncan & Toplis team and soon decided to rejoin the company. After helping SMEs thrive from within, Kayleigh turned her expertise to supporting businesses across the region at Duncan & Toplis.
“People often have a vision of what their career should look like, but my biggest realisation has been that you’re not on a ladder, but a motorway. You can change direction, lane and speed whenever you like. You’re in charge, and I think that’s a really powerful thing – in life and work.”
Kayleigh’s new role as Head of Business Services will see her enabling teams across Duncan & Toplis to confidently provide a high-level and consistent service to clients and build on the ‘exceptional’ gold-standard client service as recognised Investor in Customers.
Initially, Kayleigh is visiting each office to understand how different teams work, why they work the way they do and to discuss their current methodologies. From this, she will combine the best practices from each team to build, consistent process flows. In doing this, Kayleigh will ensure that all parts of the business are operating collaboratively across her service line.
Kayleigh explains that the changes won’t be an overnight process, but a slow, steady and sensible roll-out that will address any shortcomings of the current system to ensure the entire firm can better maximise opportunities:
“At the moment, our office-based reporting lines can mean that we miss out on opportunities to share resources, don’t effectively spread specialist skills across the practice and don’t always use our best business developers on a wider scale.
Now, we’re standing by the values that have driven us over the past 94 years to push ahead and create a uniform approach to the way in which we win, process and deliver our work. This will allow for increased efficiency, work-sharing, the better leveraging of skills and resources, improved speed and clearer communications.”