As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer. In fact, I trained all the way through until I was 18 but didn’t make it. My biggest claim to fame was being a backing dancer for Boyzone when I was 16 – that’s as far as my dance career went.
Where had that got to during your later studies (or not, as the case may be)?
I’d got a place to study drama in Exeter at 18, but something felt off and I didn’t fancy going into debt for a career I wasn’t sure I wanted. So, I deferred my place a year and worked while I considered my options.
When did you move into accountancy; why, and how?
I’d been working as a runner on films and TV shows for a year and absolutely hated it! Therefore a career based on a drama degree was out. I went to my local careers office and asked for their advice. A bored-looking woman suggested accountancy and it seemed reasonable – so I walked across the road to a hotel and asked if they had any jobs in accounts (I was 19 and very sassy!).
The FD happened to be there and said their purchase ledger clerk had just left; they asked if I could do purchase ledger. I said “probably, and I’m a fast learner” – and that was how I started my career in accountancy! In truth, I had no idea what a purchase ledger was, but I was confident I could figure it out before my first day.
I studied in the evenings and weekends and discovered that I loved how the accounts told the story of the business. I’ve never looked back.
How important is accounting in your role – and how has being an accountant helped you develop in your career and as a person?
Although I don’t do any of the day-to-day accounting work for our clients, it’s obviously vital for me as a business owner. I have to present our financials at board meetings every month, as well as make strategic decisions about the business which heavily involve understanding finance.
Through my unconventional route into accountancy, I discovered that my true passion is business, and helping other businesses to thrive. My background in accountancy lets me do that in a very direct way, and it’s really given me purpose.
Catch the full article in the XU Magazine here