My dad ran a newsagent when I was younger. I was curious about the statement of accounts, understanding the logic behind the balance sheet, cashflow and profit and loss statements. I studied for an accountancy degree at London South Bank University and then took up ACCA, as I saw it as a qualification that is globally recognised and covered a good variety of modules and papers.
I started out my finance career in the fashion and retail industries, alongside working as a library assistant for Enfield Council during weekends. When the opportunity to work in a finance role within the council came up, I took the chance and have been with them ever since. I’ve worked in a range of departments and am now in the core chief executive area, including HR, payroll, customer experience and customer services.
My challenge is communicating with stakeholders to ensure that we undertake more critical, value-added duties
I support, challenge and review budget decisions made by heads of services and report on performance to senior management. The role has allowed me to broaden my commercial skills; I’ve worked with departments with different operational aims, varying from ensuring statutory obligations are met to maximising income generation.
I am the main point of contact for complex financial queries. I ensure that month-end deadlines go smoothly by trying to anticipate potential challenges and leading on budget-estimate preparation in my team.
The economic climate has meant there is greater scrutiny on financial spend at work. This is a positive, as it can potentially help ensure value for money and promote innovative ways of working. This can justifiably result in unplanned urgent work, and my challenge is communicating with stakeholders to reprioritise their workplans to ensure that we undertake more critical, value-added duties.
Although it took longer than expected to achieve the ACCA Qualification, I didn’t give up
My role has changed over the years to include non-financial skills. I love working with others to help them achieve their goals and building a strong working relationship. Balancing the core technical financial activity, such as the increasing complexity of financial reporting, with the necessary work to ensure clients are engaged throughout the process are two key challenges of the role.
I am proud of the fact that although it took longer than expected to achieve the ACCA Qualification – I didn’t give up. As well as getting married and having a child, I also had challenges passing my penultimate exam. It took patience and some time off, and eventually I passed.
Since I’ve become a member, lots of doors have opened up to me: for example, the chance to connect with my peers. I want to develop my leadership skills and get the best from my colleagues.
I enjoy the work/life balance of the public sector. I practise yoga and meditation, and spend time with my husband and son outside of work. I’ve recently taken on the added challenge of becoming a Spurs fan via my husband.
I would say to anyone starting out that you should be yourself. I firmly believe that if you work in your natural form, you are more likely to work at your optimum level. Develop people skills and always be inquisitive and learn from your setbacks, as they can end up shaping your professional development.