There are various pictures hanging in Steven Galea’s office, all showing beautiful landscapes, mountains and lakes. Look closer though and you’ll see that the pictures are in reality jigsaw puzzles, thousands of pieces which Galea assembles in his free time.
“I like doing jigsaw puzzles,” he says. “If I’m waiting for my wife to get ready or need a five-minute break, I just sit down and work on a puzzle. Eventually, the whole picture emerges from the thousands of little pieces.”
Interestingly, Galea compares jigsaw puzzles to his profession, accountancy.
“A lot of my work depends on various elements and feedback from clients. Let’s say that, for instance, a client wants to invest in a hotel. That requires putting together various elements, from seeking finance to getting permits and conducting studies. The finished hotel will be like the completed jigsaw puzzle.”
This year, Galea is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his accountancy firm.
“My wife Stellina and I were together at university. We graduated in 1988 and I started working as a supervisor at what was then Mid-Med Bank, while my wife started working at the Inland Revenue Department. However, I always wanted to set up on my own. After two years at the bank, I left to set up my own accountancy firm. Stellina joined me and we started building a corporate client base, working from home.”
Leaving paid employment was a huge risk.
“I was just turning 26 and, as a young couple, we had our commitments. Yet we worked hard and, in 1993, we had grown to the extent that we had to move to a larger office in Naxxar. We employed more staff and started specialising in various areas, servicing clients with all their accounting, auditing and advisory requirements. However, despite the growth, we have maintained our flexibility and a personal relationship with all our clients.”
Today, the Galeas still manage their firm together, with Stellina also dedicating her time to the operation of YTC Travel and her lifestyle company.
“I also love to travel,” Galea says. “I especially enjoy skiing and nature.”
Galea may appreciate quiet moments surrounded by beautiful scenery – however, he also has a passion for rock music, especially AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Metallica, and frequently attends live concerts.
In these 25 years, Galea says that accounting has changed a lot.
“When we first started, accounting was more labour intensive. We used to send documents by courier and file returns manually. Today, accountancy has changed a lot and is more specialised. Technology has also been a huge enabler. Moreover, the introduction of VAT in 1995 was a huge legislative overhaul that brought with it added regulation and deadlines.”
Yet what has remained consistent is the trust that Galea enjoys.
“Trust is essential to any business. In these 25 years, we have assisted our clients in their accounting needs and problem solving requirements and have helped them grow. And we have always done so with honesty. As testament to this, a large number of clients and members of staff have been with us since the beginning. We have grown together.”
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