As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to finish the animated version of The Lord of the Rings! Did you know there was an animated film of the first half? I used to draw comic strips at home, so I went to art college after sixth form to become a graphic designer (the only reason my dad let me go to art college). But there was no graphic design tutor when I was there so that plan fizzled out.
Where had that got to during your later studies (or not, as the case may be)?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do after art college, so my dad sent me to secretarial college. I hated every minute of it! But then I went travelling for a couple of years with a friend. I only came home to save enough to go away again.
When did you move into accountancy; why, and how?
When I was home, a temporary position came up to cover a secretary’s maternity leave at a local accountancy firm, and I grabbed my chance. I even included in my cover letter that I’d only be around for the six months’ cover to save up to go away again! I was about 21. Seven years later I was still there and offered partnership. I still managed to go away on my travels during that time, but shorter trips. Then we moved to Bath and I took a role in a larger firm.
How important is accounting in your role – and how has being an accountant helped you develop in your career and as a person?
Accounting was always seen to be dull when I was studying, and a conversation stopper (not in a good way) when I said what I did. I think my art college start has really helped me in my role now, as I love the visual aspect of a lot of the software we use, and my creative and curious brain is always looking for quicker and better ways to do things.
I was brought up in a hospitality business (we literally lived above the pub up to age ten) and helped out serving bread rolls in the restaurant from about six years old. So, it is in my nature to want to help people, and make things easier for them, and I really understand what it’s like to be a business owner.
Being trained in a small firm, then moving to a larger one also inspired my need to help people. The larger firm in Bath were just focused on high wealth clients and pretty much ignored the small businesses, so I felt the need to support small businesses.
Catch the full article in the XU Magazine here