Skip to main content

Giles Corby is responsible for bringing together the Merlin team as you know it today – founding the company in 2006. His ambition to take a different approach to accountancy has supported numerous businesses achieve goals that go beyond a financial stacking up. So let’s get to introducing him…

Name: Giles Corby
Role: Director
Duration: Since the start, circa 2006

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born, raised, and educated in Exeter so I’m very much an Exonian. I have always had an affinity with numbers, enjoying quite an ability through my life, which is of luck really because my skill set falters at writing. I just didn’t – and still don’t – particularly enjoy it. As soon as I could, I dropped subjects encumbered by hours of writing and undertook a degree in mathematics at Exeter University – much more my style.

The pursuit of accountancy was quite a natural career path for me to take. I began working as an accounts junior at the Exeter-based Bush & Co, where I went on to qualify as a chartered accountant in March 2002.

After four years, I decided to realise my ambition of starting up an accountancy firm that took a different approach to business numbers. I wanted to dig deeper and look beyond the traditional measures of success. I wanted to focus on the day-to-day and future prospects of businesses and the people behind them, rather than just spend days and days reporting on historic figures and carrying out auditing.

Wanting to have a name that also reflected this new approach, I decided to forego the usual Corby & Co type names and settled on Merlin Accountancy Services, named so after a beloved flat-coated retriever who was a tremendous family pet.

Q. What does the working day look like for you?

If I’m the first one in, it’s straight to the kitchen to make the first round of hot drinks for everyone – I think we all share this mentality, and rightly so, it is a priority.

Most days I will be reviewing and putting the finishing touches to accounts and tax work. But for me, the fun starts when I can use those numbers to identify where our clients can make the improvements that will help them achieve their goals. In most client meetings this work will evolve as talking points, and I always do my upmost to encourage impactful and practical changes.

Q. What do you enjoy best about your job?

I thoroughly enjoy helping my clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and ambitions. Showing them how they can use the figures to implement practices that will not only help with income but also their work/life balance – both of which hold equal priority to the majority of our clients.

Q. What are your aspirations?

Practice what you preach: I haven’t achieved the ultimate work/life balance just yet … but I am working on it!

The grand plan is to get to the point where I am able to spend more time pursuing other things that matter to me, like charity work and working on my garden. Of course, all while maintaining the same level of commitment and service to our clients that we – as individuals and a team – provide now.

Retirement, early or otherwise, remains out of sight for the time being.

Q. What opportunities have you benefited from? 

Running my own business has given me a number of opportunities; above and beyond greater control over my working week. The biggest is what comes from our approach to accountancy and relationships. It’s more fulfilling to help our clients make progressive change, rather than just getting the numbers in the right order. And because of this we have a diverse range of businesses that are run by people who we are genuinely interested in seeing succeed, in both the work and life aspects of their lives.

Q. What’s the best thing about working in the sector?

What else can you do with a maths degree besides teaching? And I still don’t have to write essays (at least not very often). But it all comes back to enjoying it and what can be achieved within it.

Q. What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

I am very keen on improving people’s health through dietary and lifestyle choices, and I am a trustee of a charity that focuses on this.

In addition, I am interested in regenerative agriculture and rewilding. I am currently working on my first wildlife-friendly garden, and although it’s now quite crowded, I always seem able to find space for just one more plant.

I have also done a lot of singing over the years and used to sing in a couple of local choirs. Besides that, I also enjoy watching the rugby – I’m a staunch Exeter Chiefs fan – and dependent on the weather, I happily enjoy watching films or going for walks.

Quick fire

What’s your favourite drink? Red wine. Simple.
What’s your favourite place? There’s no place like home… and the Devonshire countryside.
What gets you through a tough day? Knowing that at the end of the day, outside the realms of winter, I can sit in the garden with a nice cup of tea and just let all my cares disappear.
What’s the weirdest thing on your desk? A large jar of pork scratchings – a top tier snack.
Tell us something few people know about you… I played trombone in the school orchestra, which actually might not come as a surprise to some, but perhaps what they don’t know is that I played at the Royal Albert Hall for the Last Night at the Proms school feature.

To find out more about our approach to helping clients achieve their goals, please contact us on 01392 272972 or email

No question is too small, it’s what we are here for, our clients say that it’s useful to have a numerate friend prodding their thinking, especially one who understands the issues. You will find us a good fit if you’re looking for an accountant as an investment – rather than just a cost.

Tel: 01392 272972 Email: