Next up in our speaker Q&A series is Richard Bearman, head of small business UK at HSBC Bank, who’ll be discussing the ‘Future of Banking’ at the show.  He and his team are responsible for 650,000 small trading businesses and a further 200,000 entities, including charities, clubs and societies. He’s worked at HSBC in the UK for 17 years, and has a particular interest in combining the on-going digital transformation of the business with ensuring that people are at the heart of their business communities.

How did you get in to the profession?

Before HSBC my career was somewhat eclectic; from running my own business to pay my way through university to retail management, teaching and even coal mining for a year in Oklahoma.  I came into banking almost by accident when I joined HSBC in 1999 and have worked across our various Retail, Commercial and Head Office functions in a variety of leadership roles.  It’s a fantastic organisation and I’m still very proud to work for HSBC.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

I’m a big advocate of work/life balance, so I’d have to say it’s making sure I manage my work and home commitments.  Clearly, keeping all the work plates ‘spinning’ can be a challenge, but it’s a fun one and I’m lucky in that I have a great team supporting me.

And the most rewarding?

I must confess I love going out to meet customers whenever I can.  You learn more about industry trends and opportunities from a ten minute coffee chat with an entrepreneur than you could ever read in a report.  It’s particularly rewarding when customers tell me how HSBC has helped nurture their business and we’ve been there to guide and support them through the business’ lifecycle.

It also gives me great satisfaction to be able to recognise colleagues who have done something particularly outstanding to help a customer.  I do this every Friday and it really is the highlight of my week, we have some amazing people working for us.

What do you see as key trends for the accounting sector in the coming years?

Many of you will know about the Payment Services Directive, also known as Open Banking, the second iteration of which came into force on 13 January 2018.  Not wanting to give too much of my talk away, I think the phased introduction of this Directive, which began last year and will conclude in around two years’ time will profoundly shape the future of banking and the way accountants, bookkeepers and their clients interact with the banks.  HSBC is well placed to capitalize on this opportunity and there are a number of exciting initiatives underway which I will share over the course of the conference.

How important is Accountex to you and the sector?

In many respects, Accountants are the lifeblood of our business communities and a key part of our business strategy involves positioning ourselves at the hub of these communities.  We never underestimate the influence accountants carry as key introducers for our brand and we work hard to foster strong relationships with local accountancy firms.

This is our first time at Accountex, we’re both excited to be taking part and delighted to share some of the ways we will hopefully make accountants’ lives a little easier through digital innovation.  Accountex is a great platform for us to engage with our customers and showcase our proposition to the industry.

What do you want visitors to take away from your session?

I want visitors to leave feeling energised by the opportunities Open Banking can provide to them and their clients. I also want them to leave with the message that HSBC UK is on a journey to become the market leader for digital innovation in banking.

Who or what inspires you to be even better?

My greatest role model continues to be my wife.  I also have two young sons who are amazingly proficient using all manner of tablets, games consoles, apps etc. and inspire me to embrace new technologies (although I profess I’ll never quite be up to their standard!).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Not advice per se, but a quote that I have carried with me throughout my career is one of Winston Churchill’s: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”  I think about this in situations where I need to embrace new opportunities or make a bold or difficult decision – it gives me confidence to follow my instincts.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know:

Not something you’d necessarily associate with banking but I’m quite musical and can play the banjo and bassoon.  Please don’t ask me to give a demonstration on the day though!

See Richard at Accountex 2018

For session details and timings, please visit:

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