Meet Our People: Andy Holdcroft
In our series #WeAreCustomsSupport, you will meet the people behind Customs Support. We value our colleagues and the work they do. In this series, we will interview the people who are always ready to assist you with importing or exporting your goods without worries. Next up in this series is Andy Holdcroft, who is the financial director for the UK, based in Felixstowe.
Who are you?
I’m Andy Holdcroft, the finance director for Customs Support in the U.K. I’ve been a financial director in a few companies now, ranging from start-ups to large companies with over 2000 employees.
What does a financial director do?
I’ve joined Customs Support to support the acquisitions in the U.K. as they go from single, entrepreneurial-type companies to adopting a more corporate structure within the group. It’s a journey that I have been on several times, so I am here to help manage those transformations alongside Gary and the team.
What does your typical working day look like?
There are several projects on currently, so I don’t have a typical working day as such.
Recently, I’ve been registering employee-related security filings and making sure the shareholder positions are declared correctly for acquisitions. I’ve also been working with Gary on the business plan and budget for 2023, so there is a lot of assessment, too. My day varies from one to the next.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the fact that it's a new industry and I'm learning a lot. I’ve only recently joined Customs Support, so I am asking a lot of “silly” questions. These enable me to learn a lot, and also help the people being asked to consider why we are doing things a certain way. I love that we are identifying so many opportunities for development and that the team is driven to capitalise on them.
What’s the best thing about where your office is located?
I’m very sporty and I love what the area has on offer. There are good cycling routes around, and the drivers are considerate. I also have two 16-year-old boys, so it’s nice to have the country and coastal areas around to spend time with them. We can easily find a new place to go out on the bikes, take the dog for a walk, or go fishing.
What excites you the most about joining this group of customs experts?
It’s the opportunity to modernise this industry and take it to the next level. Historically, this sort of business has relied on established networks. Whilst you don’t want to lose that relationship-based type of business, there is an ability here to develop systems and processes that streamline the operation so that we be a dominant market leader.
What’s the next stage of development for Felixstowe?
We are heavily pushing systems forward in Felixstowe. Customs Support is growing, but there are recruitment and experience issues in the wider industry in the U.K. which means that we need to look at increasing the productivity of our highly skilled operatives instead of recruiting more people.
With improved efficiency across the declarants that we have, we can continue to develop our experienced people. What we want to avoid is backfilling roles with more people, struggling with training and potentially putting too much of the work on our more experienced declarants.
Why is it important to have an office where you work?
There is a significant skill and knowledge base in Felixstowe, and I think it would be difficult to bring all that resource together somewhere else. Although working from home has increased, and you could get your people from anywhere, I don’t think businesses should rely on that, so it makes sense to retain talent in the local area.
What do you do when you aren’t at work, and how does your outside life support your role?
I’m very much a family man, and like to spend time with my twin 16-year-old boys. They are sporty, like me, and play rugby so I like to support them with that. Outside of that, I like to cycle and fish. It’s good to take time away to be outdoors and unwind so that I can focus when I’m at work.
In your opinion, what’s the most important thing a client should look for in a customs broker?
The quality of data processing and a lack of error rates. This is a compliancy business so it’s about getting it done efficiently and accurately.
You now work for a Europe-wide network. If you were to visit any Customs Support, where would you go and why?
I’d like to get out to Italy again. It’s a lovely country but I haven’t been there for a number of years.