I can still remember clearly the official opening of Pride Park. I was one of the many school children that took part in the opening ceremony to welcome the Queen to Derby. This was a fun couple of weeks in the lead up to the ceremony practicing with many other children from other schools so that we came together for our part of the parade. On the day of the ceremony we stood on the pitch and watched the Queen as she circled the ground in her car waving to us all as we were waving back to her. A truly memorable occasion and a great day of celebration.
I was only 12 years old at the time, and my life has since seen many changes, although I did not expect to end up working so close to the Pride Park on The Wyvern where I can see the stadium from my office.
I was one of the pupils that saw many changes throughout my education at Derby High School. Our year was the first year to complete the SAT’s at age 14, and the first year to take AS and A2 level exams, which are now changing again. The first year to do things continued when I went to University as I was very fortunate to be accepted on to a brand new degree course called the flying start programme which was a partnership between Newcastle University, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC). This meant I would come out of University with a Degree, part qualified as a Chartered Accountant and a job.
During my degree course I went to work at PWC for practical experience in what they called their busy season. This was the dark winter months from December through to March each year. Again I was lucky in that each year I was based in their London office which was great as it allowed me to see so much of the capital. However one year PWC did send me up to Aberdeen for a week in January and there was also a season when I only spent a week in London. It was a great experience being in London, working down there and getting an understanding of a business through the audit process that I was a part of.
After finishing at university I went to work for PWC in the same London office which I had worked in as part of my degree course. While at PWC I qualified as a Chartered Accountant. It also allowed me to gain the experience required to gain my membership. I learnt much during my time at PWC, but as my father was a Chartered Accountant in practice in Derby, the long-term plan had potentially always been to come back and work with him. As this had always been an option for me it became the option I decided to go for. In fact at my exit interview with PWC they did put down the reason for leaving was the opportunity of a lifetime, which I still today believe that it was.
And so, I came back to Derby in 2008 to work in my father’s business, Shapcotts Accountants and then in 2010, at the age of 26 became a director of the company.
Shortly after this I became involved in The Derby Society of Chartered Accountants in 2011 as a committee member because I wanted to be involved in the promotion of Chartered Accountants in the local area. It was an honour to be appointed as President of The Derby Society of Chartered Accountants in 2016/17 and again in 2017/18 for a second term. During this time I plan to focus on engagement with the local Chartered Accountants in the area to encourage them to become involved in local events, attend the local courses that we hold at the Derby Cricket Ground on a range of topics from September through to April each year and represent them with other professions so that they are aware of what we can provide as a profession.
Personally I have, bought a house locally (within 5 minutes from the office out of rush hour which is a much better commute than the one hour commute I had in London), I got married in 2015 and we had our daughter Ezri in 2016 who is now 10 months old. It was great to be one of the 5% of the population that were able to take advantage of shared parental leave. This enabled my husband to spend more time with our daughter when she was very small and I was able to return to the business and develop this part of my life.
Professionally, my father Melvin and I have grown the business each year with organic growth and through merger with other local firms. In 2015 we acquired a long-standing Derby firm of accountants Blythe, Squires, Wilson to expand our team and clients.
2016 saw us take on a new director Nick Parkes to expand our management team. Each year we continue to grow and develop the business and are looking to continue this expansion. I love being a director at Shapcotts Accountants. At PWC the role I had within audit team was very much about checking things and looking at historic information, whereas at Shapcotts I can make a difference, help clients develop their business, look to the future not at the past to achieve their vision and goals.
During 2016 I became involved in a property business with my husband in which we started building a property portfolio. Our goal is to providing great houses to the local market and improve the quality of properties available for rent in the city. This has been a very interesting field to move into outside of Shapcotts Accountants. It has also helped me get a greater understanding of our clients that invest in property. We have a number of clients who are landlords or invest in property and having seen this first hand has enabled me to provide better advice and guidance on questions posed by clients in this sector.
This article was originally published in the Derby Telegraph on Wednesday July 19, 2017 in the special edition Pride Park Business supplement.