My experience is predominately in retail/e-commerce businesses. It is a very fast-paced and dynamic place to work, and it requires quick solutions to problems. I have learned and developed as an accountant while working for businesses including Amazon, Yoox and Net-A-Porter before joining the natural skincare brand Burt’s Bees.
In my current role, I ensure compliance, system efficiency and adherence to group policy. I lead my team to ensure we meet both internal and external deadlines, be they month end, taxes, external audit or ad hoc projects with the wider business. The aspect I enjoy most is solving issues in which I have no previous experience – it keeps me on my toes and is rewarding once I see it through.
Solving issues in which I have no previous experience keeps me on my toes
I like to make a difference wherever I work, and my corporate roles have enabled me to see the impact of my contribution quite quickly. You must think commercially and strategically, especially if you are eyeing CFO/CEO positions in the future. For my next role I’d like to aim for finance director.
An example of stepping out of my comfort zone is when I had to convince the marketing director to go for the system automation I had proposed. I thought my proposal would be accepted without any issues, but that was not the case. I had to professionally challenge, listen to their concerns, put myself in their shoes and resolve the differences of opinion without jeopardising the relationship. My advice is to put your ego to one side, listen and address concerns, and always prepare for the worst.
From my interaction with colleagues in Australia, Europe, Asia and the US, I find the accounting unites us
People skills are a must. Accountants have a reputation for being less interactive but that needs to change if they want to really progress in their career. We need to work collaboratively across the whole company and not just in the finance department. Helping people, collaborating with them, being honest in your opinion and striving for efficiency are key.
Most of my roles have required looking after overseas regions and occasionally travelling to those regions. But from my interaction with finance colleagues in Australia, Europe, Asia and the US, I find the accounting unites us – we all seem to agree on fundamental accounting issues. That said, my advice to others is not to be afraid to challenge overseas finance colleagues and do your research online when accounting rules seem odd.
I like to socialise with my friends, and I also like stargazing. The fact that Earth is this tiny speck in the vastness of space among billions of stars in our galaxy (which is among billions of galaxies) is never boring to me. I love nature and meditation.