In the mid 80’s there was a considerable number of my fellow students that opted to enter the workforce after completing Year 9 or 10.
For work experience in Year 10, I was given well meaning advice from family and friends. Choose a career that you could “always come back to” or work “part-time” in, after you had children. High on the list of suggestions was banking because I was good with numbers. And another suggestion was teaching, because I loved helping people and having 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers, I was also good with kids.
I wanted a career in Accounting though …
I secured one week of work experience at a local accounting practice and the other week at a bank to keep Mum happy and to give her a glimmer of hope that I would follow in her footsteps. Funnily enough if she hadn’t left school to join the bank at 16, she wanted to be a teacher!
Accounting was a very male dominated industry back in the early 90’s but I wanted to be a part of it and didn’t let the fact that numbers weren’t on my side back them deter me. Fortunately now, our industry is about 50/50
3 years of full-time Uni and 25 years later, I’m still in the accounting industry and loving it.
I wanted to be a career woman and a Mum …
My career was progressing well within that firm and I was enjoying my role as the manager of their individual and SME division. Wanting to start a family I was faced with the prospect of taking time off without pay or being the guinea pig negotiating maternity leave terms and navigating new territory for both sides.
I backed myself and setup a little practice from home. 9 months later we welcomed our first son and 14 months after that, a second.
We wanted to be hands on parents …
We were as proud as punch with our little millennial baby and neither of us wanted miss out.
It was a joint decision that my husband would become a stay at home Dad which would help me get the business off the ground and we both could be there as much as we could for our soon to become family of four.
He used that time to help me in the business, finish Uni (I conned him into doing a Commerce degree to help me but), obtain a Masters degree (turned out accounting wasn’t his thing but OHS was) and to instil in our boys’ a sense of gender equality.
I wanted to challenge the stereotypical accountant and accounting practice concept …
I was chuffed when James, a former employee and now accounting practice owner said this about me – “Amanda has a personality that is at odds with stereotypical depictions of accountants as boring, uninteresting people and this, along with her genuine concern and interest in the lives of her clients, draws them to her and engenders loyalty and goodwill from them”.
As an accounting practice owner, I never conformed to the traditional accounting practice model and have always done things my way and in a way that was totally aligned with my vision for my practice and my life. My practice was a contemporary practice from day one and it continued to evolve for the next 18 years.
We’ve never done things by the book and we still don’t.
We’ve never conformed to stereotypes.
Our mantra has always been “It’s all about the balance and not the money!”
So on International Women’s Day and for the next 365 days, I’d love to challenge you to start doing things in your practice and your life “your way”.
With a little more balance.
With a little less stereotyping.
And with a little less bias.
#BetterforBalance #IWD2019 #theBalancedfirm