Moving to the Isle of Man simply added up both in career and lifestyle terms for accountant Philip Knop.
Philip Knop and wife Myska, from Cheshire, moved here about 20 years ago. Their three children, Isobel, 17, Emily, 15, and Thomas, 12, were all born here.
He is now boss of his own accountancy company, K5 Ltd, in Port Erin, with his wife also a co-director. The company’s name derives from the first letter of the family surname, and the number of immediate family members, excluding Coco the dog!
Philip explained how he and Myska came to move to the Isle of Man.
‘I was at a bit of a crossroads with the last couple of jobs that I had in the UK,’ he said. ‘My father-in law lives in Ballakillowey and was always encouraging me to look at the Isle of Man as an option for work.
‘At the time I couldn’t imagine moving to the Isle of Man to be honest, but I thought I would see what was on offer.’
Philip managed to line up a number of interviews.
‘As I sat on the prom on a glorious sunny afternoon in July 2000, I thought, “I could get used to this life”.’
He landed a job with Reads & Co, which went on to become Grant Thornton and, at about the same time, he received his results showing he had passed his Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) examinations.
‘I said to my mum I would only be here for a couple of years,’ he added. ‘I have a small but close-knit family in Cheshire and they all thought it was going to be short-term because at the time that was how I thought it would work out.
‘Then we had Isobel. She was born in 2002, quickly followed by Emily in 2004 and Thomas three years later.
‘From thereon in we have really never looked back because it is just such a very good place to bring up children.’
Philip said what struck the couple after Isobel was born was the sense of community among parents of young children and the easy access to the many groups and activities that were available.
‘It is such a good place for children to grow up and I have never changed my mind about staying here,’ said Philip, who turned 50 earlier this year.
‘Everyone looks out for one another. If you cannot make it to pick up one child from school or nursery, there is always a friend who will step in and do that.
‘I think the standard of schooling here has been excellent and outside of school all three of our children continue to explore opportunities in, for example, sports, dance and theatre groups that I don’t believe would be as readily accessible in the UK.’
In terms of career prospects, Philip is an example of just how far you can go, to the point where, with Myska, he now owns and runs his own business.
‘My career has gone well ever since I have been here,’ he said. ‘I don’t think I would have had the same opportunities if I had gone back to the UK.’
Philip bought the business previously known as David J. Hill and Co in late 2017. Philip first became involved by helping the owner, David Hill, to run the firm and when David decided to call it a day, the next move seemed obvious.
With the change in name to K5 to reflect the new ownership, the company has enjoyed a successful first two years and Philip currently employs three members of staff.
About 70% of K5’s business originates from the south of the island, although Philip is looking to expand the firm’s reach.
In a manner typical of the nature of the Isle of Man, some business still comes from ‘drop-in’ visitors – often business people interested in a venture in the island who notice the firm’s distinctive branding on their office windows in Church Road, Port Erin, and just call in for a chat.
Alongside the company’s website and social media presence, Philip hasn’t felt the need for a big marketing push to attract new business and has been delighted with the response to the change in ownership from longstanding and new clients alike.
Away from work and family, Philip has been heavily involved in the island’s football scene in recent years, with Colby AFC. Although he has hung up his playing boots (for now!), he helps out each weekend with the coaching of the juniors at the club.
He is also a keen cyclist and has always been impressed with the choice of sporting opportunities locally, particularly for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Philip urges anyone unsure about making a move to the Isle of Man to give it serious consideration – and added that it could pay dividends.
‘If you are ambitious, have the right attitude and perspective, there are still great opportunities here for entrepreneurial people to make a difference whilst at the same time enjoy a strong work-life balance.’