"With Capi, every single day we are talking about growing the business and driving strategy. So I could be trialling lemonade to see how it tastes, or we could be talking about our next billboard campaign."
My current role is to manage the finance team of Capi Sparkling and Lucy Folk Jewellery. In addition to that, as the COO, I'm exposed to a lot of the operations of the business, from the day-to-day running, logistics, marketing, to really driving the strategic direction of the business.
I started pretty early. I knew straight away when I found out about traineeships at the Big Four accounting firms that I wanted to do that. The thought of going to uni for four years and just studying didn't appeal to me personally. So, for me, it was getting the traineeship at PwC and working full-time almost immediately and studying part-time at uni. I always wanted to be a CFO. Then when the opportunity came up to move into the industry I thought that that was a step in the right direction to start getting a real commercial outlook and more of a business exposure than just accounting.
I think when you study to become a CA they teach you to really think outside the box. It's not just about accounting and finance, it's that commercial outlook. Now that I'm in the role I am, even when I recruit I look for people who are about to become CAs or want to because I think it takes a type of person to want to put yourself through a Program like that and have the discipline to then, at the end of the day, add value to the business.
My greatest achievement to date would be having the role that I have now and the title that I never thought I would have at this age. Then, secondly, it would be the sale of Map Coffee, a process which I had no experience with but was able to manage singlehandedly. Finally, building a team from scratch, so having a finance team for Map Coffee and now for Capi, I've had to recruit, train and guide them to be up and running without me. It was actually quite a big learning curve. I'm really proud of the people that I have within my team.
The advice I'd give anyone starting out in the Chartered Accountants Program would be to embrace it and dedicate a lot of time to it. It can be quite full-on when you're working full-time and you're studying but there's a lot of value in the learnings that you have and even more in the networks that you create when you're going through the program. So you should dedicate time to it each week rather than cramming at the end.