Day in the life: Accountant
When my alarm goes off at 6am I like to catch up on the day’s headlines and enjoy a very strong cup of coffee whilst getting ready for the day ahead.
I’m usually in our Elgin office at around 6.45am and before I do anything else I write a ‘to do’ list, check for any e-mails which have come in since my last check the previous evening, and deal with any urgent enquiries. By 7.30am, my day is well under way and I like to squeeze in a run or a trip to the gym. This really helps me to clear out the cobwebs and keeps me focused all day long. I feel that if I am fit in body, then I’m fit in mind.
Following my morning run, I’m back in the office. A typical morning includes client meetings discussing business, tax issues, future plans and so on. I also aim to spend time with each of my employees to see how work’s progressing and support them with any queries or issues.
Having started my business in 2007, I have built an eight-strong team covering two offices. I have extremely low staff turnover, and I believe this is because my firm offers excellent opportunities for training and staff development as well as a less ‘formal’ approach to working in an accountancy practice.
My mornings always fly in, and before I even know it it’s lunchtime. One thing I know I am bad for and must improve on is not taking a lunch break and just grabbing something at my desk or ‘on the go’. As a boss I always make sure my staff take a break – no matter how busy they are.
I do like to keep going when I’m making good progress on a piece of work. I’m a highly motivated person, and since the death of my mother I strongly believe that life is too short to waste doing something you hate. When she passed away I took some out to reflect on what I wanted to do.
During this time I took up writing, wrote two novels and had several magazine articles published whilst helping various friends and acquaintances with their VAT returns and book-keeping. This is where my business started in 2007, and its success is extremely important to me.
I have recently expanded my business by taking over an accountancy practice in Huntly. I work from the Huntly office two to three days a week, and have really enjoyed getting to know my new employees as well as the clients I’ve inherited through the new practice.
Reputation is vital when doing business in the north east. Most people in this region have worked with the same banker, solicitor and accountant for many years, so you need to work hard to earn their trust if they are to take that leap of faith and give you their business.
I think Faith Simpson Accountants brings something new to the accountancy profession. It has always been viewed as being stuffy, old school and full of jargon. However, we are approachable, fun and flexible. We’ve done away with grey suits, 9 to 5 working hours and language clients don’t understand. It seems to be working, as month one of 2014/15 has shown a 38% rise on income from the previous year.
Depending on the time of year, I usually finish work around 7pm or 8pm. I have a clear desk policy and won’t leave the office until I’ve cleared my ‘to do’ list and tidied up – I hate coming into a messy desk in the morning.
As my husband works in Fife, I spend the week at home on my own and see him at the weekend. We love to go out for dinner and some drinks in St Andrews. If I’m not in Fife I like to wind down by enjoying a good wine whilst catching up with friends or my favourite TV shows.
As a business owner, I do find it hard to wind down sometimes, as it’s hard not to think about your next move, your clients and your colleagues. We do celebrate regularly as a team, however, by attending awards ceremonies throughout the year.
In June we went to the Scottish Business Awards where I was shortlisted for Scottish Female entrepreneur of the Year, and in October we were shortlisted for Business of the Year at the National Business Awards in Glasgow. We also attend the Moray Business Women’s Club Annual Awards and Charity Ball in November, which doubles as a great early Christmas night out.