The date; February 2010, my daughter ‘Neve’ was just 7 months old and I was planning my return to work at the time as a Partner’s Assistant. I’d followed protocol and submitted a request to return to my role on a part time basis, in order to continue my career, whilst still spending valuable time with my daughter. This news wasn’t well received and ‘they’ insisted if I was to return on a part time basis, I’d have to be demoted and take a £5,000 pay cut for this ‘privilege’.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t thrilled by this news and so started to look for what else was out there. I contacted Clare, at Clarity Recruitment as they had an advert on their website for a part time Accounts Senior in Huntingdon. The role was to assist a sole Partner practice, which had recently established itself in the area. With the role being flexible, it sounded just what I was looking for and so, an interview was arranged.
Meeting Simon Laskey (The Partner) was a breath of fresh air! He pretty much asked me what hours and days I wanted to work and as long as I could complete the role, he was flexible and so my journey with Haines Watts as a part time Accounts Senior began.
Despite the Huntingdon practice being only a year old and Simon being new to the local area, the client base quickly began to grow. We’d started in a tiny ‘shack’ of an office, with just a couple of laptops, a single filing cabinet and a couple of phones. Throughout year one, Simon would venture to numerous local networking events in order to grow the client base and I’d be back at the office preparing the accounts. Over time, we added more and more clients, upgraded and improved systems, moved to a much bigger office in 2011, grew the team, invested in technology and completed several small fee block acquisitions along the way.
As a result, of our expansion, I took on more and more responsibility and involvement, and was subsequently promoted from Accounts Senior to Senior Accountant. After the birth of my second daughter ‘Orla’ in 2013, my maternity cover was a full-time male employee. I’m not ashamed to say, I did feel slightly threatened by this and felt I needed to return to my role as soon as possible in order to ‘fight for my place’ and this is exactly what I did. In April 2015, I was offered the role of Office Manager – I was over the moon! However, this was a full time role, something that up to now, I’d avoided. My gut reaction was ‘I can’t leave her yet, she’s not even one years old’, my head on the other hand was saying ‘take this opportunity, if you don’t, someone else will, this is what you’ve worked so hard for all these years, go for it’, and so I did!
I therefore started my new role as Office Manager within days of being offered it, before being promoted again to Senior Manager in January 2018, to help oversee the office, the team and client base within both Huntingdon and St Ives. I moved from preparing accounts, to supporting the wider team, reviewing work, to also managing my own portfolio of clients.
In September 2017, I’d been selected for our Leadership Development Programme (LDP), a two year programme Haines Watts support nationally that’s run by The Leadership Trust. The Programme, immediately enabled me to start working on my personal development, which I firmly believe helped me gain new found confidence and the skills required to become a respected leader in the work place. It was whilst undertaking the LDP that I really explored my desire to become Partner at the Huntingdon office, and started to push myself outside my comfort zone by working on the tasks I needed to develop in order to fulfil that role. My LDP doesn’t officially finish until June of this year and Partnership was never guaranteed as a result of undertaking it, but I do feel proud to be standing here today, having achieved the role that I’ve worked so hard to attain.
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