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- Specialism: Finance & Accountancy
- Sector: Commerce & Industry
- Office: East Midlands
Type a day in the life of sellick from Sarah Childs
Last Tuesday 6 November 2018, myself and my colleague Simon Briffa had the privilege of attending and exhibiting at a Women in Leadership event organised by CIPFA North East which took place at the Civic Centre in Newcastle. The event, which was set up by CIPFA North East president, Judith Savage was a celebration of women that are leading the way within business, and as an ambitious female myself I found the whole afternoon to be incredibly motivating. Each of the speakers had a story to tell, offering tangible advice to women hoping to progress in their careers, and also giving everyone an insight into what has helped them get to where they are today. Here are four of the speakers of the day, and why I think they hold important messages that every business woman in the UK should read. Jonathan Blair, UK Managing Partner of Womble Dickinson Jonathan Blair is responsible for the strategic direction of Womble Dickinson’s UK operation and is involved in setting the company’s international strategy. He opened the event and spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusion in business and why businesses should ensure they promote a culture of fairness, integrity and respect for all employees. The most important takeaway from this opening speech was his belief that female leaders are essential for business success and that female leadership should be the norm rather than the exception across all businesses and sectors. This is a great message to promote and something we should all be getting behind. Organisations should embrace their female workers and reap the rewards that a diverse and inclusive culture will bring. One thing that amazed me was the statistic that if more businesses adopted gender equality it would enrich the global economy by £120 trillion. After hearing this I couldn’t help but wonder what it is that is holding women back. Jonathan and the other speakers on the day believe it is combination of a number of things including, economic disadvantage, organisational culture, unconscious bias, self-limiting belief and lack of visible role models. These are all issues that we need to address to promote female leadership across the UK and beyond. Linda Conlon MBE, Chief Executive at Centre for Life Linda Conlon MBE, talked about subtle bias and how to negate negative stereotypes in business. She spoke about some real life examples of how women are often treated differently than their male counterparts because of bias and perception. For example, in business women are often called out for being ‘bossy’ when delegating tasks, whereas men are seen as being ‘assertive’ for doing the same thing. These negative perceptions are derived from the age old ‘old boys club’ that needs to be eradicated once and for all. To rid the business world of these negative perceptions, businesses need to support more women into leadership roles by creating more opportunities and making themselves more inclusive. For example, companies should be carefully wording job adverts and adapting their benefits packages to suit. Linda stated that using words like ‘competitive’ and ‘determined’ can often put women off, and adverts tend to get higher number of female applicants if they include words like ‘collaborative’ and ‘cooperative’. She also said we need to review salaries frequently, adopt flexible working practices and actively encourage women to be more visible in business in order to achieve true gender equality in our time. Kate Denby, Executive Director of Northern Stage ‘Learning to lead’ Kate Denby then took to the stage to talk about her experience of post performances at Northern Stage and how she would hear people talk about how amazing the actors were, marvelling at their talent. She explained how people often don’t think about what goes on back stage and how much work goes into the lead up to the performance. People often forget about all of the training, the practice, the mistakes and the development of skills that go into each and every performance – which she rightly compared to being a leader in business. Being a leader is about learning from your mistakes, working hard and paving the way for other people to be successful. Leadership is very different to management – a leader will influence others in a positive and productive way whilst energising and motivating others to success. Her advice, and something I related to, was not to think of leadership being above your station, no matter what level you are in an organisation. Too many women forget, or do not believe they will ever progress into a leadership role due to various circumstances, but this is not the case. Anyone that is driven enough and has the right skillset can become a leader, and more women need to be encouraged to take this step. What I found interesting from Kate’s speech was her discussion around men and women applying for roles. She stated that men are likely apply for a role even if they only tick 8 out of 10 of the main criteria, whereas a woman will generally only apply if she hits all 10. This made me think about my own senior candidate base, which is predominantly men, and it made me think about the women that would be perfect for many roles but may be too worried to apply. As women in business we need to be braver and apply for roles that may seem out of our reach, and by doing so more women may achieve the leadership positions that they deserve and have the skills to succeed in. Irene Lucas CBE, Ex Director General and Chief Executive of two local authorities Finally, Irene Lucas said that more women need to “stand out from the crowd and make their voices count”. She went on to discuss the importance of women being seen in business and ensuring their voices are heard at every level to maximise success. This is something I know I have adhered to throughout my career in recruitment. When starting out, and progressing in business it is important to be clear about what you stand for, to always ask for feedback and to value the contribution of everyone around you after all, ‘none of us are as clever as all of us’. Doing this, and having a strategy for success will greatly enhance your chances of achieving what you want to achieve. She also stated that it is important to do this whilst being true to yourself, closing the afternoon by saying that “the minute you try be someone else, you will likely strugglel”. All in all the event was a real celebration of inspiring female role models and it really showed me that there are women leading the way in business right up and down the country. However, it also highlighted the fact that there is still a way to go before we achieve true gender equality, and that is something all businesses should be putting at the top of their agenda for the years to come. If you would like more information about the Women in Leadership event, please feel free to email me directly on email@example.com. Alternatively you can check out what events we will be attending next here.
This Saturday 10 November 2018 is International Accounting Day, a date celebrating when Venetian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published an in-depth look at bookkeeping practices. Today the accountancy sector is huge, and is an integral part of most businesses across the globe. However, despite the size of the sector we are still constantly on the lookout for high-calibre, qualified accountants to take key positions across the UK. In this blog I take a look at what I think are the top ten benefits of becoming an accountant and why people should really consider it as a legitimate career move. Excellent development and career prospects: you will get out what you put in while working in finance. If you are career driven, hardworking and focused the world really is your oyster. The training on offer and the opportunities to learn new skills and develop both personally and professionally in this sector are second to none and hard work always pays off. A better than average salary: accountants can work in high pressure environments, and the salary often reflects this. Accountants in the UK can earn anything from £25,000 as a gradate entering the profession to over £100,000 as an experience chartered accountant. There are also opportunities to earn upwards of £500 per day as an interim contractor, making it a very well paid profession for candidates that are willing to work hard. Job Security: businesses will always need accountants, so overall accounting is a very stable industry to work in, and while no field can guarantee anyone a job, the prospects in accounting are excellent and are likely to stay that way. Variety of the role: as an accountant you will be able to work in almost any industry, so the variety and choice within the role is excellent. You will also work with a range of people across the business you are in, giving the role variety and making each day different and interesting. Variety of roles available: as an accountant you will also enjoy access to a vast number of different roles on a permanent, contract and interim basis. This gives candidates in the Finance & Accountancy sector a much greater chance of securing work, and if you are flexible with what you want you will likely be able to secure a role you want with relative ease. Role that you could get into include audit, reporting, business partnering and commercial an analysis. Ability to make real change: Today’s finance professionals do much more than just crunch numbers. Accountants are often required to have technical abilities coupled with a commercial acumen that enables them to advise decision makers on strategy and business processes. This makes the role of an accountant incredibly varied, challenging and often very exciting. Technology and the ever changing environment: technology is changing the way finance leaders run their teams and how they conduct business. As a result, more finance leaders are investing in digitisation of the finance function, opening up opportunities to gain efficiencies and analyse trends. This again means varied career paths as professionals who are tech-savvy have an opportunity to excel, and trained accountants will be at the forefront of exciting business change. You will gain transferable skills: the skills you will learn and develop as an accountant are easily transferable to other roles and even sectors. For example, accountants could go into teaching, trading or recruiting, so if you ever want a change of scenery you will have plenty of other options to choose from. Many accountants also become business leaders in their own right, securing Managing Director roles and setting up their own businesses. You have the option to travel: with qualifications like CIMA, ACA and ACCA, you can work in more than 120 countries. Giving you the ability to travel with work and pleasure. This is especially advantageous as you might end up working with a big firm with multiple offices in different countries. No need for a university education: you don’t need a degree to become an accountant. Having an accountancy degree can enable you to skip a few exams on the way to full qualification, but generally it will not matter whether or not you have been to university. I believe becoming an accountant is a clever career move for anyone that is ambitious and focussed. I have seen so many candidates progress through the ranks relatively quickly within finance. It is a sector that is constantly growing, and I firmly believe that the role of an accountant will always be needed. For more information on how you could get on the accountancy career ladder get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can check out our latest accountancy roles here.
Going on maternity leave is one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences a new parent will ever go through! Having all the time in the world with your new born child, watching them grow and being there for them all the time is a truly memorable and rewarding experience. However, for most of us that time needs to come to an end at some point. That time for me came a few months ago and deciding the right time to return has been one of the most challenging decisions of my career to date. No one tells you how difficult going back to work will be after having a child. On the one hand I was looking forward to getting back to the career I have built for myself over the past 15 years, and on the other hand I felt apprehensive about Jack settling in at nursery and adapting to this new way of life. Luckily, I work for an organisation that has a great deal of experience with new mums and they made my return to work, and my return to work as easy as it could be. I can imagine the whole experience to be very different at an organisation that may not be as supportive. The important thing I realised when making my decision of when to come back to work was not to rush it. Parents who return to work too soon will only resent their job which is not a healthy situation to be in. One of the toughest decision for me was what nursery to send Jack to, and worrying about how he would be in a new and strange environment. It took me a long time to find a nursery that I was happy with, and it wasn’t until the eleventh hour that I found somewhere I knew he would enjoy. It is very important to find a nursey that you are 100 percent comfortable with as this made my return much easier. I imagine that parents who do not find a nursery they are totally comfortable with, or who jump straight back into their regular working day-to-day will resent their workplace even more. You need to be able to concentrate at work, and spark the right balance between your home life and your work life – which I know is much easier said than done. My advice for anyone struggling with this decision is to do keep in touch with your employer through keep in touch days and phase your return rather than jumping back into the deep end. Work with your employer and decide on a phased return to work scheme that is suitable for you. I would advise any new working mums to make good use of staying in touch days as these really helped me to keep on top of what was going on and get back up to speed. Keeping in touch regularly, and ensuring detailed handovers are in place will really help you plan your return, set realistic expectations and ensure you are not putting too much pressure on yourself. It may also be beneficial to buddy up with people that have had or are going through a similar experience. Getting advice from other women can really help make decisions that bit easier. That being said, the most important thing about a return to work is figuring out the right balance for you. When you are in work, you should try to fully concentrate on work, and when you leave the office leave your work at the door. I know this will be really challenging for a lot of professionals, especially those in high stress careers, however it is vitally important. New parents need to be brave and ask for the flexibility they need to make work/life balance work for both parties. Be prepared to give something back to your employer in return for what they give to you, and make sure that you make a good business case for working flexibly. Most employers will be accommodating, so remember to always ask for help if you feel that you need it. The quicker you feel secure and comfortable being back at work, the more productive you will become and your employer should be aware of this. I would therefore advise you to work with your manager to ensure you are both doing all you can to make your return to work as seamless and stressless as possible. Most important of all, both employees and employers should remember that working out a solution is what everyone wants, so putting the time and effort in to do so, from both parties, is worth the effort. I think the most important aspect of all of this is to have a very clear plan. This is something I wish I had done a little bit better. Planning your return to work is just as important as getting back into it, so ensure you work with your employer to make the process as easy as possible. If you would like any more advice on how to navigate your return to work feel free to get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com, alternatively you can check out our candidate resources section for more top tips on finding your next role.