30 June 1980 I started my career in accounting as a Payments Clerk.
With a 5 O Levels I wasn’t exactly starting from strong foundations to build an accounting career .
I was however really fortunate to have a boss who saw my potential.
One day he dropped a copy of the local college prospectus on my desk.
I looked through it and found the only course that I had the entry requirements for. A Scottish National Diploma in Accounting.
Off I went and signed up for 3 evenings in college after work.
My boss made sure I got practical experience in every area of accounting.
He taught me non technical skills.
After getting rejected for promotion a couple of times, I got a role in internal audit in the NHS.
After another rejection for a promotion and being frustrated by the way the interview process had gone, I applied for a job 450 miles away in Brighton.
I thought I’d hear nothing more. A few weeks later I was on the overnight sleeper to London and then on to Brighton for an interview
A few days later I got a phone call offering me the job.
I sold up, moved South.
I qualified with CIMA and went on to work at a senior level in the NHS and had a 5 year stint working in the Big 4 with PwC and EY.
In autumn 2005 I had one of those conversations you never want with a new CEO as an FD.
It was clear that I wasn’t part of the plans going forward and we went our own separate ways at the end of 2005.
It was at this point I decided to set up my own business helping other accountants and professionals to succeed. If I’m honest I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of my work, even when employed where I mentored a number of people.
It was a big decision and one I’m glad I made.
So what have I learned so far on my 40 year journey so far?
- We all need someone to give us that first opportunity.
- You can have career plans but you have to adapt.
- Working with the right bosses is more important than the financial rewards.
- Stepping out of our comfort zone is tough and it’s where exponential growth happens.
- I will never the finished product but always work in progress.
- I can’t control events but I can decide how I respond.
- It’s easy to undervalue yourself and forget just how far you have progressed.
- Attitude and mindset plays a huge part in your career success.
- It’s not those who are technically or academically the best who necessarily go the furthest.
- There will be rejections and setbacks along the way.
- Others can see qualities in us that we can’t always see ourselves.
- None of us irreplaceable whatever we might think.
- I have to keep learning.
- I made make mistakes along the way and I learned from them.
- My intentions were always to do my best whatever the outcome.
- I can’t please everyone even if I try.
- It’s easy to stand on the side lines and find fault. It’s tougher to step up and make things happen.
- Managing and leading might look easy when on the outside looking in but it’s really tough in practice.
- Treat people well.
- The quality of your relationships play a big part in your success as a finance professional.