60 Seconds With

“Keep things simple and never bluff” – 60 seconds with Paul Walsh, CFO of Coll-8 Logistics

By Business & Finance
09 July 2024

Paul Walsh is CFO of Coll-8 Logistics. Having devised a platform which automated the customs clearance process for firms exporting to Ireland, Coll-8 has become one of the country’s leading independent customs specialist, accounting for roughly 40 per cent of all documents submitted to Irish authorities.

What was your first job?

After my Leaving Cert., I was sponsored through the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Ireland course in Waterford Regional College by Oliver Freaney & Co. After completing my
qualifications, I transferred from Kilkenny to the firm’s Dublin office.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I suppose you could say that I have been surrounded by accountancy – directly or indirectly –
since childhood. My uncle was an accountant and my father had a shop for which I helped
manage the books. I really didn’t want to do anything else. The same is true now. It’s not
only my day job but my wife is an accountant and one of my sons is training to follow suit.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

In addition to helping set up the systems at Coll-8 which have proven so successful so
quickly, I would say that I’m equally proud of my work with Nightline. When it was bought
by UPS, we became the first ever company to turn ’round accounts for the parent company
within the first month of being acquired. That shows how quick and how organised the
Nightline accounts department was.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

Not a thing. Oliver Freaney & Co gave me a superb grounding across a breadth of different
aspects of accounting. I was doing the books of small agricultural businesses and some very
well known brands. Even more importantly, I learned the value of being methodical and
how to cope with the sorts of challenges which I’ve enjoyed since, both in private practice
and in-house with some great companies.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Being able to walk away at the end of each working day knowing that you have done your
job well.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

My parents instilled in me the importance of treating everyone as you would wish to be
treated yourself. From a professional point of view, Oliver Freaney himself stressed the
benefits of keeping things simple and never bluffing. If you don’t know something, there is
real courage in being honest and admitting so.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

It probably comes back to the advice which I’ve been given. I believe in leading by example
and would never think of asking someone to do something which I couldn’t do myself.
Having everyone believe that their contribution is valued is imperative.

How do you handle adversity?

Business has its pressures but it’s vital to stay calm and work whatever problem arises. I’ve
always found that’s best done by coldly analysing the basics. I like to think of myself as a
problem solver by nature anyway. Even when I’m at home, I indulge my love of puzzles like

How do you relax?

I’m a big GAA fan, so am often to be found watching my son turn out for Ratoath. I’m also a
supporter of West Bromwich Albion but, given how they’ve been performing this season,
that might be classed more as nervewracking than a way of unwinding.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

We all want to continue making strides. Despite being a relatively young firm, Coll-8 is
already acknowledged as Ireland’s number one for customs clearance work. We want to
consolidate that position by staying alive to the opportunities and the challenges which may
present themselves in the future.

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