I’m passionate about helping smaller charities. Much of our paid work is helping them and community-interest companies in a finance function/FD role. The pandemic has challenged them to adapt their service delivery, while keeping everyone safe within the ever-changing guidelines and increased demand for services. Our biggest role is to be a listening ear. We help with furlough claims and keeping on top of the numbers, freeing up their headspace and time to concentrate on what they do best.
One of our newer services, which began in July 2020, is a free monthly Zoom call for smaller charities called ‘Charity Chatter on Money Matters’. Out of that has grown another community – ‘Charity Chatter Accountants’ – which brings together firms that specialise in working with charities to support each other and share knowledge.
My husband made an off-hand comment that I’d make a good accountant, and the lightbulb went on
My working life began in the office of a high-end men’s underwear company on a Youth Training Scheme. I learnt how to do everything, including accounts, payroll and sales, eventually becoming the stock controller and production planner. I loved it, but I knew it wasn’t my lifetime role.
Ten years and two children (plus one on the way) later, my husband made an off-hand comment that I’d make a good accountant, and the lightbulb went on. I finally knew my purpose. I did a bookkeeping distance-learning course, self-funded via the ACCA mature student entry route and here I am 26 years later. My first role in an accountancy firm involved working with charity client audits and I’ve worked with charities ever since.
I set up my own practice in 2002. In 2010 my husband and I became foster carers, which we loved and I reduced the practice to a handful of clients. Sadly, our fostering ended in 2019 and I reignited my business, deciding to specialise in charities because that’s where my heart has always been.
My advice to others starting out is to keep saying yes, believe in yourself and your dreams, and visualise what you want. Work hard, play hard and do what you love. If you can, find a mentor to help you – they will guide you down a road already taken and help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Make sure you take your wellbeing and self-care seriously.
Away from work, we have an old touring caravan and go away ‘off grid’ at weekends with the local section of the camping and caravanning club. I’m also a keen crafter – crochet, knitting, card-making, baking, sewing and, my newest craft hobby, working with polymer clay. With three adult birth-sons and two foster sons, I’m still busy being mum and I have two beautiful grandchildren.