The first in our new regular series of interviews with women who love their jobs.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Lucy, I’m a self-employed consultant and I give give legal compliance and management consultancy advice to a specific genre of accountancy.
How did you get your current job?
In part I specialised in my industry, finding that not only did the regulations change constantly but over time, as I aged and had a family of my own, I found I couldn’t sever the emotional attachment that comes in part with my job.
That said, I’m professionally pedantic, so this role was clearly going to pursue me.
What’s an average day like for you?
When attending a client, I’m usually there to perform an audit of a specific case or series of cases. This would include reading every document on the file and comparing it with company standard, current legislation and all ancilliary legislation, together with best practice and ethical code. The review of such a file can reveal many factors including training and efficiency needs. A full audit on an average file of less than 2 years old would be about 3 to 4 hours.
As my industry changes almost weekly, it is very difficult for any client to maintain an up to date and practical approach to compliance and it is more often than not that a client wishes to make changes but has neither the funds, expertise or time to do so. A lot of supplementary contracts are given on the advice I have provided.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I guess this is two-fold.
I still consider that I help people, in that my client becomes more informed and this advice they then pass down to those that need it. I also make the practice more efficient, raising staff morale and fee income.
More importantly, as a single mother, I largely get to choose my own hours and can do a great deal of my work away from a client office, making motherhood and career workable – just!
Are there any downsides to your job?
I work for mainly small, independent firms that consist of older practitioners who have to trust both my age and experience to accept that I know better. This has had its moments as I’m sure you shall appreciate.
The other issue is payment of invoices. A number of smaller practices think nothing of paying you on 2-3 months terms, which is difficult to manager from month to month.
What did you want to be as a child?
This changed every year from about 12. I never had desires to be famous, or creative. My earliest memory was of wanting to be linguist and I have found I have a natural aptitude for languages.
That said, as I grew older, I found that I fell in love with sciences and so pursued a career in medicine. Not sure how I went from medicine to law!
If you could do any other job, what would you choose?
If it wasnt for the horrendous British weather and the fact it wouldnt cover my outgoings, I would love to be a gardener / landscaper. Just me, flora and some fresh air. Blissful!