He said: Accounting has been defined as a profession of opportunity and reward – I took the opportunity and I didn’t let the reward pass me
Longstanding Accountant Henry Joseph was the first born of a single teenaged mother from River Salle, St. Patrick, who then migrated to the United Kingdom and left him and his two younger brothers in the care of his aunts and uncles.
Joseph demonstrated that he was destined for brilliance at an early age and received a scholarship that prepared him in later years to become the Managing Partner of one of Grenada’s most reputable accounting firms, PKF Accountant and Business Advisors.
He attended the River Sallee Infant School, and at the age of nine was already in Class Three.
After answering a question that yielded the answer “No Profit, No Loss”, which no other student answered, the young Joseph was promoted to Class Five and at the age of 10 wrote and passed the scholarship examination and began his educational journey with the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS).
As of May 1st, 2019, Henry Joseph celebrated 50 years of accounting brilliance with PKF.
He got attached to the accounting firm after resigning from his teaching job at the Tivoli RC School.
He told THE NEW TODAY: “At the end of April 1969, I resigned that position and so began my journey with Pannel FitzPatrick. I only had a passing interest in accounting in those early days, as my six form subjects were geared to pursuing a career as a Soil Chemist”.
“As fate would have it, there was little opportunity to obtain a scholarship in those days and the advent of finding an opportunity at an accounting firm was for me a challenge, which I readily grabbed,” he said.
On the advice of an uncle from Trinidad, who was also in the field of accounting, Joseph chose the wise path towards becoming a qualified accountant.
“I would always be grateful for his words of encouragement,” he said, “as a short time later I was at his house on my first overseas trip to attend a course for the first level of the ACCA examinations.”
His first examination was in June 1970 and his last was in December 1972, which landed him with a total of 16 subjects in two and a half years.
As a result of this achievement, Joseph moved from becoming a junior employee in 1969 to being the only qualified staff and most senior employee in 1973, which afforded him opportunities to serve in different countries.
“In between that time, I also had a six-month stint at the Port-of-Spain office of the firm as in those days the Grenada Office was owned by Trinidad. In September 1973, I moved to the Nottingham England Office for a twelve-month stint primarily to obtain the necessary experience and training to take over the leadership of the Grenada Office, which was being managed by a gentleman from the United Kingdom. In August 1974, rather than returning to Grenada, I was sent to the Dominica Office as there were some problems that needed to be resolved…after ten months in Dominica, I returned to Grenada to take over the management of the firm…”, he said.
Joseph’s sojourn as owner of the Grenada Office began in April 1978 and because of “concern and trepidation” invited a “long-time colleague, Rupert Agostini to join me”.
“The relationship lasted ten years, but it was a period of growth and development for the firm. By that time, I had gained in confidence and better prepared to face the challenges of the business environment. The firm continued to grow and prosper and soon moved into its own office on the Lagoon Road,” he remarked.
It grew from a small clientele consisting primarily of estates and a staff of six to a total complement of twenty, including three partners.
“My involvement in the firm,” he said, “was not merely for my personal development but also enabled me to be a beacon for a number of persons who joined the firm at various times. In fact, I feel gratified when I look around the island to find that over fifty percent of the financial officers and other senior accounting personnel at one time or another was a member of staff.”
According to Joseph, the self-satisfaction, the challenge and the financial reward was the driving force behind all the years spent in the accounting.
“I found myself in a position that I got a lot of self-satisfaction from. It was always challenging and I love challenges and I was always well paid. Make no mistake about it, people might say what they want and every time I go somewhere to give a talk, you know what I always say ‘if you are in business and you’re not making profit, you may as well move out’. So, all business is about profit, so because I was well paid, I enjoy my job, where am I going. Accounting has been defined as a profession of opportunity and reward, I took the opportunity and I didn’t let the reward pass me,” he said.
When asked if retirement is on the horizon, he had this to say: “Why should people retire? If you are unwell and if you are working for somebody…I am in relatively good health and I am my own boss, so retirement is not an option for me. I’ll continue, not necessarily to work, but I’ll continue to be here, give advice, help that kind of thing but retirement is not a thing that I have in mind”.
Fifty years of service was not without its good and bad times, however, the top local accountant said, he chooses not to “remember the bad times”.
“I sincerely believe that they have served to make me a better person as one should always learn from his shortcomings.”
Having said this, Joseph noted that what he chooses to remember most is that the firm is rated as the number 1 service provider on the island and that is” beyond doubt one of my greatest achievements.”