Jane Hodge joined the team at Charter Tax in February 2017, where her role is a mix of advising high net worth individuals, including UK families, non-UK domiciliaries and both UK and offshore trustees, as well as managing a portfolio of tax compliance cases.
Jane began her career working with a firm of tax advisers in the City, specialising in Lloyd’s Names, before joining the investment arm of a local law firm. From there she worked with a wealth management firm, before moving back into a law firm, where she was part of the private client team, again advising on personal tax issues and working alongside the probate and trust teams.
“When I joined the firm, Mark said that Probate was an area Charter Tax was looking to move into and it seemed like a natural thing for an accountancy firm to do,” she says. “I could also see how it would be another way for us to help the families who come to us for advice. In that situation, people not surprisingly can feel adrift and if we can reassure them that their finances are in order, we take some of the worry away.”
Jane has also recently starting volunteering for the charity Tax Help for Older People which, as the name suggests, provides assistance to older people on lower incomes, who cannot afford to pay for professional tax advice.
“I’d certainly encourage more tax professionals to volunteer, as we can help with more complicated situations,” says Jane. “Most of the people I’ve worked with have been less than half an hour’s drive away and I’ve seen them in their own homes, which has helped them to feel more comfortable. The worry people feel over receiving correspondence from HMRC that they do not understand should not be underestimated. I have been able to resolve their tax issues for them, putting their minds at rest.”
Accountancy was not a career that Jane envisaged for herself while still at school. In fact, she dreamt of working in fashion and went on to complete an HND in Clothing Technology at the London School of Fashion, graduating in 1991.
“The recession at that time meant there weren’t many jobs in that sector, so I enrolled on a six month secretarial course, planning to get a temporary PA role until such time as the fashion sector recovered,” says Jane. “In the end, I secured a job as the PA to a tax partner, was given the opportunity to get involved in client work and the rest is history! It definitely wasn’t the plan at all, but I discovered that I really enjoyed it.”
Jane has continued her love of fashion and has a sewing shed in her garden, where she can exercise her creativity. Her spare time also involves spending time with her husband and two children, plus the family dog, and occasionally dusting off her running shoes and heading out along the lanes around her home
Asked what makes Charter Tax stand out from other accountancy firms, Jane says: “Most importantly, we are friendly and approachable. We’ll always offer to have a chat first with a potential client to see how we can help them. We work hard to really get to know our clients, because that’s how we can advise them best. It’s all about trust and, although it’s a cliché, we want to be their ‘trusted adviser’. Many of our clients have been with us for quite a few years and we know them so well, which not only benefits them, but makes our day to day work much more satisfying.”
She continues: “From a personal point of view, I really enjoy working here. We’re a good mix of professionals with a huge amount of experience. We all get on really well and there’s a very open culture, with us all feeling very much part of the team.”