Derek joined Optionis in 2008 following 15 years at KPMG. He’s spent his career providing no-nonsense advice to outsourcing specialists, employment agencies and blue chip corporates.
Ifti Ahmed joined Optionis in January 2014 after spending 12 years at outsourcing giant Capita, where he played a key role in the delivery of several central and local government contracts. During his time at Capita he occupied senior roles including managing director (BPO) at Capita Insurance Services and, more recently, operations director with responsibility for the Capita Secure Border Services partnership with the Home Office. A self-confessed football fanatic, Ifti is a Manchester City FC season ticket holder and coaches his local under-12s football team.
Lee Kingshott joined Optionis in March 2018 having spent the previous 20 years in various senior positions within the financial services sector, including directorships at subsidiaries of the Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland. More recently Lee spent 4 years at a competitor where he was responsible for the technology strategy & delivery and 2 years as CIO for Payzone, a leading UK payments solution provider. In his free time Lee enjoys running and completed his first off-road marathon in 2017. He is hoping to complete an Ultra marathon in 2018 if he can combine training with his children’s busy social lives.
Kevin joined Optionis in September 2014 and has a Joint Honours degree in Economics and Econometrics from Nottingham University and then qualified as Chartered Accountant (now FCA) in 1987 with Robson Rhodes. After a 2 year stint in Corporate Finance within the profession, Kevin has been an FD/CFO for over 27 years. He has specialised in fast growing entrepreneurial business with a ‘Buy & Build’ strategy backed by Private Equity covering a number of different industries (transport, financial services, technology and support services). In his free time, Kevin enjoys keeping fit and travelling to sample fine wines and watch England play rugby.
Mark, former founder and MD of First Freelance, joined Optionis with the acquisition of First Freelance in March 2018 and is Chief Commercial Officer of the Optionis Group.
Mark’s in-depth understanding of the contractor market draws from over 10 years as a widely respected Operations, Financial and Managing Director within the sector.
Mark has overseen the tax, accounting, legal, operations and compliance for thousands of contractors over the years, as well as advising and working with many of the UK’s leading recruitment firms. He has an extensive knowledge of the tax and legislative landscape that affects contractors, agencies and end hirers.
Mark grew up in South Africa, speaks isiXhosa and is a passionate supporter of the Springbok rugby team!
Ben joined Optionis in 2018 as the Group Head of Business Analytics. He’s worked in a diverse range of industries including telecoms, utilities and, more pertinently, has five years’ experience of the contractor accountancy arena. He has even enjoyed several years working as a contractor himself, so has a true understanding of what it’s like to work in this way. He is a firm believer in the benefits that analytics and data-driven decision making can bring to any business, even more so to those where data is at the heart of what they do, such as accountancy.
Out of work, Ben is a keen runner. He’s a qualified run leader, volunteering to lead social runs in Warrington, and has over 36 marathons under his belt with plenty more planned. He has a “secret” aspiration to make it into the ‘100 Marathon club’.
James joined Optionis in 2018 as the Director of IT. He’s worked in IT for over 15 years, including the last seven which he has spent as a Group Head of IS working more specifically within the contractor accountancy space. His experience also includes working for an outsourced professional services company, supporting businesses across the north west, and both the Public Sector and the Oil and Gas industry. At Optionis, James is responsible for the delivery of strategic initiatives to improve both the customer and user experiences, systems and IT infrastructure and processes.
Outside of work, James is a keen scuba diver, with his favourite dive being the wreck of the 10,000-ton MS Zenobia, which can be found off the coast of Cyprus.
Parasol and ClearSky Contractor Accounting
Director of Operations, Elaine has been with Optionis since 2013 and currently ensures that the operations side of Parasol and Clearsky Contractor Accounting work as well-oiled machines. Her Optionis career began as Practice Manager in one of the branches of SME. Now Elaine is responsible for the Accountants and Apprentice bank within Clearsky and looks after Employee Support, Accounts Receivable and Payroll within Parasol.
Elaine is FCCA qualified and before joining Optionis has managed various Accountancy practices across the North West. Away from the office, Elaine enjoys spending time with her family and has two Labradors to keep her busy.
SJD Accountancy and First Freelance
Tony joined SJD Accountancy in July 2016 and later joined Optionis in the 2017 Arkarius and Optionis merger.
Prior to joining SJD, Tony had been working as a contractor so knows first-hand what help and assistance our clients need. He has 29 years of experience within operations and senior management and has held a senior position at Barclay’s bank.
Kim joined the Optionis Group in November 2017 as our General Counsel across the group. It is Kim’s job to provide advice on all legal issues across the group and ensuring our procedures are up to date to coincide with legislative changes.
Kim is South African and moved to the UK in 2013. Outside of work, she likes to stay as active as possible by running and swimming and also loves to travel as much as possible.
Prior to joining Optionis in 2015, our Director of Marketing, James, has worked in the technology industry with brands such as Microsoft, HP, Vodafone and, most recently, Head of Marketing at Brother UK. He also spent six months working and living in Singapore, helping to support the opening of an office of a marketing agency there. At Optionis he manages the Group marketing function, covering all eight brands within the group, as well as the sales function for our SJD and Nixon Williams brands.
Outside of work, James is a lifelong supporter of Sheffield United FC but, when he’s not cheering on the Blades, he can be found spending time with his young family. He is also a key participant in Optionis’ charity events, having taken part in the Three Peaks challenge and cycling from our Warrington to Blackpool office.
Group Head of HR, Helen has over 15 years’ experience working in HR roles for various companies and has been at Optionis since 2005 so knows the business and our brands inside out. It is her job to ensure there is a people centric focus which supports the business to achieve their future goals and provides leadership to the HR team to ensure it is delivered effectively.
Outside of the office, Helen has her hands full with a young family and enjoys travelling and skiing.
Amy, Group Director of Sales at Optionis, is responsible for a sales team of 55 who work across the Parasol and ClearSky brands to ensure our potential clients receive the best advice at a pivotal point in their contractor careers. She joined the group in 2015 and was previously Head of Service delivery, leading and managing on key areas of operations across the group.
Before joining Optionis, Amy’s career includes working for BT and Liverpool City Council as Head of Corporate Services and Business Transformation.
Away from work, Amy can often be found at a beach or park with her husband and two young children. She is also heavily involved in her local evangelical church, where she leads the children’s teaching team and a women’s bible study group
Nixon Williams, Brian Alfred and ClearSky Business
A fellow member of the ACCA, Victoria is Director of Operations for a number of brands in the Optionis Group. She is responsible for managing all operational aspects and ensuring a high quality service is delivered to our clients. Before joining Optionis Victoria was Finance Director of the 1st Stop Group and has worked for Deloitte LLP and Grant Thornton LLP.
When not working, Victoria is a keen swimmer and is currently taking ice-skating lessons. She has a ten year old daughter who loves to dance and do gymnastics, so much of her time is spent watching dance shows and taking her daughter to rehearsals.