Michael Leather Managing Partner & Business Founder
Michael founded Leathers in 1990 and has overseen its growth into one of the most highly-esteemed Chartered Accountants in the north of England, acting for an array of high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, investors and major businesses.
One of the region’s best known and experienced tax accountants, Michael has worked with clients across the UK for over 35 years, advising on the most complex of business and property tax matters.
He is also a trusted advisor to many families on matters of their personal tax and wealth, and the long-standing relationships he has developed with many individuals have led to him being entrusted with advising younger generations of their family as they make their way in business.
More recently, Michael has become known for his cycling feats, which have seen him raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity. Among his many achievements is completing Le Loop 3 times – a course of over 2,000 miles which follows the exact gruelling route of the Tour de France, and is usually tackled only by professional cyclists.
Michael will be happy to talk with you about:
- Property tax
- Business growth and restructuring
- Personal tax
- Tax planning
- Succession planning and wealth management
What made you start Leathers?
Frustration, Economics and Opportunity. I think it is documented elsewhere that I trained at Price Waterhouse. I had just completed a project (personally, I believe one of my best) however, recognition for my work was low, the fee charged was rightly high but when I calculated my hourly value I thought why don’t I just do this for myself? So, with no clients and dogged determination, the story of Leathers began…
So is Leathers' success down to dogged determination; or did you ever feel you had a secret weapon?
Oh absolutely; God! Or perhaps putting it slightly differently, three years at Durham University studying Theology; asking the difficult questions, dealing with how, why, so what and looking at the world with a different perspective. In fact, studying Wittgenstein and Kant is possibly harder than unpicking the Inland Revenue's latest pronouncements.
Somehow that has also translated into being prepared to ask of clients the difficult questions and deliver difficult messages; I wish I could say I've always got it right and I rely on the team who are very much the other ingredient in our success.
What do you look for in an accountant at Leathers?
Simply put, an ability to analyse the problem. So often the problem is not can I do A to B, but how you would achieve that objective?
What sets Leathers apart?
The great thing is, I don’t even have to define it – our clients know and they tell their contacts.
How do you get complex tax problems across?
Pictures and more pictures. We had a client in for a meeting and there was only one complaint – that my team had not drawn enough pictures for them! My personal favourite is my most recent drawing of an umbrella - we are hoping tax counsel agrees!
What do you do when you’re not being an accountant?
I would say that cycling saved my life – so cycling. But I also paint (the jury is however out on whether they are pictures or not!)
Read Michael's interview with the Journal/Chronicle here: Business Interview: Michael Leather