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UHY GLOBAL JANUARY 2018 PERSONAL PROFILE


ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE


Muriel Nouchy, co-managing partner at UHY GVA, Paris, France and UHY Board director, has never once regretted training as an accountant 30 years ago, although she claims that it is the people side of her job she loves much more than the numbers. The very start of things "I was a good student and I had the opportunity to become either a doctor or a chartered accountant," says Muriel. "I definitely made the right choice – I had invested five years at business school and I was determined to make that training work. My parents had run an upmarket clothing store in a town north of Lyon and I knew that was not for me! I could not wait to get out to the bright lights of Paris and I still love living in France's capital city now. From the very start though, I have loved monitoring client relationships and developing the business much more than the day-to-day work of being an accountant!" Art and travel The need to be creative and people-focused is not surprising from a woman with so many cultural interests – passions she shares with her husband Guy, a professional artist, that include opera, classical music and, of course, art. Travel is another great love for Muriel, and when she was statutory auditor for Médecins du Monde in 1996, she travelled to the deepest jungle on the Mexican/Guatemalan border to visit a project working with refugees and homeless people. "It was a life-changing experience and a privilege to witness the wonderful work of doctors from all over the world, training others to be able to look after themselves – malaria was rife and there was no electricity or water but there was so much love," says Muriel. "Obviously this was no holiday, but it was one of my most memorable trips abroad." Back at home Muriel supports not-for-profit associations that promote French artistic painters and is active in a think-tank dedicated to French female professionals – "Many things matter so much to me outside work and I get a lot of pleasure from my involvement in these organisations." Family first Muriel and Guy, who has been a full-time artist since leaving his work as a pharmacist, spend much of their leisure time enjoying exhibitions, concerts and theatre trips. "I love nothing more than spending time with my husband and two grown-up daughters – one of them is a lawyer and the other a psychologist, so I always reassure myself that I have all the help I might ever need within my own family!" Humour is clearly important to Muriel – "It is a mistake to take yourself too seriously," she says. "One of my proudest career achievements is my 30-year partnership with my colleagues Raymond Dijols and Philippe Bonnin. I attribute much of our team success to the fact that we laugh often and share a strong work ethos." Perfect dinner party Muriel is well known for championing UHY's cross-border client referrals development, and in 2015 she played a key part in the pitch that won the network its largest ever new contract, involving member firms in 38 different countries. Muriel was re-elected to the UHY Board in 2015, a position she held for six years from 1999 to 2005 – "I am proud to be back on the Board, but I am also determined to enjoy doing the things I love doing outside work. I love entertaining and in my dreams the perfect dinner party would include Simone Veil, an Auschwitz survivor who championed the law legalising abortion in 1975 and went on to become chairman of the European Parliament; Christiaan Barnard who performed the first human to human heart transplant in 1967; and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, simply for being a genius. "I would serve my guests foie gras, scallops in Thai style, rum baba and fine Burgundy. What wonderful conversations we would have and what a fascinating night!" UHY values Of UHY's future, Muriel says, "There are no glass ceilings for our network. We are an open-minded, people-focused business with our eyes firmly fixed on new achievements, new standards of excellence and recruiting the best people in our profession. We are always looking for people and member firms who can bring a mix of commercial, accountancy and human skills. They are a rare find but they are what make UHY stand out." "If I had a message for young accountants, I would urge them to be less dependent on their phones and tablets, and I would ask them to talk to people properly, face-to-face. The kind of personal relationships I have worked hard to develop with my clients are longstanding. Technology cannot replace building strong bonds in this way. Think hard about nurturing these – I believe they are behind the success of my work and UHY as a whole," Muriel says. "Never underestimate the values of kindness, professionalism and wit. These are the things that matter, whatever we are doing in life." To find out more about UHY GVA Secret Paris Having lived in Paris all her adult life, Muriel loves her home city and enjoys nothing more than ambling around it with her family at weekends. Asked for non-touristy recommendations for visitors to the capital, Muriel suggests a walk along the Canal Saint-Martin in north-east Paris and a stroll to the Place des Vosges in the Marais district. "Both these places are wonderful for people-watching, absorbing beautiful architecture and enjoying a bit of quiet time in our lovely city," says Muriel. "In the summer there is music and plenty of space for picnicking or stopping at waterside bars along the whole stretch of the Canal St-Martin. Boat rides along the canal take you under the iron bridges and show you many different views of the buildings and landscape." Connecting Canal de l'Ourcq to the River Seine, the 4.5km long Canal Saint-Martin was built by Napoleon to provide the city with fresh water – and aptly for a city famous for its great wines, its construction was paid for by a new tax on this alcohol. "It is a beautiful place to while away time, escape the crowds and soak up its unique historical ambience," says Muriel. The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of its finest. It was a fashionable address in the 17th and 18th centuries, and home to Victor Hugo in the 19th century. Parisian nobility has always been drawn to this square, which is also home to the fabulous Hotel De Sully – dating back to 1630, it is a must-see for visitors. Now a serene plaza with a central garden, a pedestrianised arcade with vaulted ceilings and many places to shop and eat, the stunning Place is one of Europe's most beautiful. "A Sunday stroll here is a much-favoured activity for Parisians," says Muriel. "I would encourage every visitor to enjoy some time in the Place des Vosges." Muriel's husband, Guy was commissioned by UHY GVA to create a special artwok (pictured, above) to celebrate UHY's annual international conference in Paris in 2017. A miniature was given to guests as a welcome gift from the host firm.

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