"Both my late husband and I had our own businesses in Zimbabwe for 29 years and I took the accounts to Trial Balance for both our companies. I am fanatically tidy and organised so making sure that accounts balanced to the last penny came naturally.
"During the political and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe, our businesses were taken over, so attention was turned to implementing business plans and goals for our individual lives instead of for our businesses. This was pivotal in giving us a clear head to make the decision to move to the UK in 2002. We started our lives again determined to always be victors and never victims of situations. I wanted my own business again and I was soon to get that opportunity.
"What motivated me to progress through my studies so quickly was THE GOAL - always THE GOAL! I wrote down that goal and read it every single day! I am also inspired by great sayings and this one epitomises the last 10 years of my life;
"Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing the thing you fear."
"I studied in Scotland and came down to London to start a business. While I wanted my own business again, my heart fainted at the thought of doing this myself until I found a franchise called The Local Bookkeeper. They thought my Pitman certificates from 1973 were a bit out of date! They were right.
"The franchise encouraged me to register with ICB. I studied through the wonderful Ideal Schools and gave myself 6 months to get up to date qualifications and buy my franchise. Giving myself a target helped me to stay on track, but it wasn't easy. I was terrified about doing exams, especially at my age. I didn't know how to start to study again, and needed my daughter to help me get the discipline of study as part of my daily routine. I had to learn to sit at my desk, take regular breaks, take exercise every day, and complete the assignments for my training provider. They allowed me to study at my own pace (fast) and encouraged me to keep going. I bought my franchise in September 2009. It sounds all so wonderfully simple - it wasn't!
" There were tears, there was unbelief in my ability and age (I was then 56) but there was also the joy of a passed exam!"
"I now have 34 clients and 3 members of staff in addition to myself working in the business.
I learned all I know about marketing from the franchise. Part of my agreement was that I would get a number of leads which I would need then to convert. I learned how to put together a 1 minute elevator pitch; I learned to believe in myself, and to network, network and network. You need to ensure that the other person remembers you. I rely on my personality and charisma for that.
"I firmly believe that networking is not so much about selling myself as it is listening to others, listening for opportunities, and finding ways to have others like me, and trust me."
"I have been responsible for all the networking and sales in the business for the last 3 years and I find that now clients are starting to find me. It doesn't matter how big or small the company is or what industry they are in. I have clients who are estate agents, cleaning businesses, web and software designers, old age homes just to name a few. I see my clients on various timescales; some are yearly, some are quarterly, some are monthly and some are weekly. Everyone is different and it takes time to learn the jargon to meet the requirements of each individual client but once you get to know their books, it is very rewarding.
"I have no central office. My staff and I either work from home or on site. I split my clients between my staff depending on locality and time. At the moment all my staff are fully booked so I have just interviewed for a fourth member of staff. All my staff copy me into emails and if any problems arise, I am always contacted and I try my best to find a solution. We use Dropbox for month end reports so each member of staff puts their reports there. I keep abreast of the business of each client this way.
"I would advise other students and members tosurround yourselves with people in the same industry who will help you, encourage you, speak wisdom into situations, and inspire you.
"This is a lonely, hard walk if you try to do it yourself."
"A lovely word 'synergy' inspires me because it means 'two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.' While we work separately, we need one another.
"The benefit of being a member of ICB is the knowledge that I do not have to do this myself - I have support and a sense of belonging.
"ICB gives my Practice a professionalism that I could not hope to get on my own and it gives me comfort to know that I am part of something much bigger than myself."
"The joy of this work is that I get to do what I love doing - Bookkeeping,! And seeing orderly systems put into place in an office that will give clients up to date, accurate information."