I first met Linda when she gave a talk at the Ingenuity breakfast gathering at Nottingham University. As a former accountant myself, I am always interested in how other accountants defy the usual image of grey suited, shall we say ‘sensible’ types. That wasn’t actually my experience of my colleagues when I was in the trade and Linda has done a great deal to debunk that image publicly. I am delighted to welcome her to this guest post slot.
Over to Linda…
At the age of 35, I was recently described as “a freak”. Why? Because I am loving doing the job that I aspired to at the age of 10. Apparently this does make me a bit of an oddity – and I don’t care one bit.
I’ve been in the accountancy profession since I left school at 17, qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant at the age of 20 with a Big 6 firm as was at the time. I spent nine years in commercial finance roles before setting up my own independent accountancy practice, Coalesco, aged 29 following the passing of my boyfriend – I describe Coalesco as my final gift from Jon.
Coalesco is my world and I love what I do – I am surrounded by lovely clients, a supportive team and a close group of friends and family. My little firm and I have won many prestigious awards and this recognition means so much to me. I am not motivated by money and having been asked the question “What gets me up in the morning?” I could respond with because I love my job but it goes deeper than that.
I have a print on our office wall that reads “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
And “love”, to me, doesn’t mean that I never have a day when I’d rather be doing anything besides my job, but rather that I experience a consistent contentment with what I do. For the most part, I get up thinking about what’s going to happen at work that day but without the impending sense of dread many have as they’re brushing their teeth. I wake up to a challenge and embrace it every day.
Through my career path I have remained connected to my initial motivation that compelled me towards accountancy. Bottom of Form
I am still in touch with my inner child who loved numbers and wanted to be an accountant and help small businesses to make money and pay no tax. What I do now has built on those younger passions and gives me daily satisfaction as I see the way that my clients build better businesses through the advice and support that I can give them.
Not every day is a perfect one. Over the years I have become effective at managing the mixture of ups and downs that come with running your own business. A bad time in my job doesn’t kill my love, though it may weaken it for a time. And good times don’t make my job a permanent success. I accept that I will always combine positives and negatives. I simply take each day as it comes and focus on what I love.
I have always been supported by my parents, partners, friends and managers to pursue what I want to do – what makes me happy – to follow my dreams and passions. I have friends who listened to the naysayers and the shame is that they don’t love that they do. I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams.
Accountancy isn’t for everyone and it is often labelled as boring but I love my job, I embrace it, and I actively look for others to share my passions with, in the hope that they’ll want to do the same job one day or will take my knowledge and acumen and apply it to their business. I am addicted to creating success; it’s no coincidence that Coalesco means “to grow together”.
If I was to give advice to anyone starting a business I’d say, excuse the cliché, but passion sells. People want to be around others who are passionate about what they do—it’s infectious. The atmosphere at Coalesco is amazing and noted by everyone who comes into the office from the most stressed out person in need of some help with HMRC to the postman. Just a few drops of passion can change an office completely.
I’d also advise that loving what you do – no matter how competitive you have to be – does not require stepping on others. People who love what they do know that intuitively.
I am not short-sighted but I also don’t just wait to see if things come together. Nothing just happens without work and time. The here and now for me is precious because it can disappear in a heartbeat.
Linda Frier is the founder of Coalesco Certified Accountants, a small firm in Wollaton, Nottingham focused on providing a practical, Plain English service that takes the fear out of financial matters for owner-managed businesses. Linda blows away the traditional view of accountants as stuffy and grey with an approach that has been voted “100% friendly” by her clients and that has won a number of prestigious accountancy awards in the face of competition from much bigger firms.
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