May 13, 2016, by The Ingenuity Lab

Ingenuity16 Mentor Profile: Tom Preece

During Ingenuity16, a range of successful business men and women based in Nottingham and further afield have got stuck in mentoring the University of Nottingham’s budding entrepreneurs. Their guidance and advice has been incredibly useful for the students and alumni competing for the £100,000 prize fund.

Over the next few weeks, we will be uploading profiles of some of Ingenuity16’s mentors and coaches so you can find out a bit more about them and their top tips for success.

We were recently lucky enough to have Tom Preece deliver an Ingenuity16 Entrepreneurship 101 on Accounting and Finance. Here’s a bit more information about him and his tips for entrepreneurs at The University of Nottingham.

Company name:


BDO, BDO logo, BDO support at University of Nottingham, Tom Preece company



Senior Manager in the Business Services and Accounting Department.

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Leicester Polytechnic in 1983 with Honours in Economics. After that, I compeleted an MBA at Sheffield Hallam University.

How did you originally get involved with the Ingenuity Lab?

BDO have had a long standing involvement with the University of Nottingham Business School. It has been great to see the Ingenuity Lab and entrepreneurial spirit of students at Nottingham develop.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone interested in setting up their own businesses?

Be prepared to accept that you cannot do everything yourself. Aim to access professionals who can assist you on the journey, and be prepared to surround yourself with people that are better than you!

Most importantly, make sure start the journey with a strong business plan and game plan. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

What do you think are the key challenges that new entrepreneurs will face when setting up a business?

It’s very easy for start ups and budding entrepreneurs to spend too much time working ‘in’ the business and not ‘on’ it. Make sure you take a step back occasionally to assess that the business is heading in the direction you want it to.

While perfection is a lovely thing to reach, satisfactory is often good enough, too. Always be realistic about what you can achieve within particular time frames.

Also, ensure you have good quality and accessible financial information. This is the bedrock to moving a business forward and an essential in attracting investors.

Ingenuity16, Ingenuity16 Awards Ceremony, Gareth Singleton, Lawrence Brand, Porterlight, Dr Stu Morris, VE Paddles, Tom Preece, BDO consultants, BDO University of Nottingham, Nottingham Entrepreneurs, Porterlight Bicycles, BDO Awards

L-R: Gareth Singleton (Lead Partner for East Midlands, BDO); Lawrence Brand (Director, Porterlight); Dr Stu Morris (Director, VE Paddles) and Tom Preece at the Ingenuity16 Awards Ceremony

What work are you currently involved in?

At BDO, I provide core accounting and business services to clients. My clients range from entrepreneurs and owner managed businesses to large corporate and public bodies.

I also work to look ‘behind the numbers’ and assist with key strategic aspects of businesses, such as leadership and being able to pull an effective team together.

If you started your business today what would you do differently?

I would definitely believe in myself more and be aware that people being better than you at ‘stuff’ isn’t a negative. It just means you can have a really strong professional involved in your business!

Thank you, Tom, for sharing an insight into how a successful business can be built. If you are interested in finding out more about the work Tom does at BDO,  please visit their website.

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