I’ve always been interested in numbers but realised accountancy was more interesting than maths. I wanted to leave school at 17 and work, so I joined the Civil Service, following in my mum’s footsteps. I studied accountancy as part of the HM Revenue & Customs training scheme. I then worked across a number of areas, including as the lead for the financial shared service centre and within the Government Finance Function overseeing the whole of central government’s purchase to pay (P2P) process. I’m now in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) looking at system and process improvements for P2P after leading a team making Covid payments.

Without a doubt, the career options in the public sector have been amazing. I’ve been very lucky to have been able to have such a wide career and a variety of hugely different roles in central government. Being an accountant was a major part of that. I chose ACCA because I saw it was a qualification that was applicable worldwide and gave a wider view of the profession.

The best advice I can give anyone is treat your network with absolute care and respect

I love the public sector because it matches my values and beliefs, and sometimes it can be quite challenging. You’re governed by the Treasury and it’s very bureaucratic with processes and procedures, but these also mean standard rules across government, ensuring good governance and bringing greater credibility to the role of the finance professional.

I briefly left the Civil Service to work for Oracle in order to satisfy my curiosity about the private sector. But I didn’t feel I could give the role everything and feel like I was making a difference, so I reached out to an old colleague who was working in DHSC and was able to rejoin the public sector. I cannot stress enough the importance of making and keeping connections and networks as part of career progression. The best advice I can give anyone is to treat your network with absolute care and respect.

My biggest achievement was while working in the Government Finance Function, designing a single P2P process across 18 central government departments. We had to look at ‘what do we do now and where do we want to get to?’ The project involved designing a 21st-century process using the best systems available, and I led on getting it documented, implemented and signed off by all 18 government departments. It was exhausting but very rewarding, and the system is still in place.

I’ve often thought that I would like to start my own business if I weren’t an accountant. I can see myself in my own café, selling delicious coffee and cakes. Outside of work I love to eat out and socialise, so it would suit me well. I love music, punk in particular, going to gigs, and going away on skiing holidays, so perhaps my café would be in a ski resort and host live bands!