After visiting a women's networking group and finding that many business owners didn't understand their numbers, Jennifer Wilson decided to take action. Now the Founder of her own accounting and bookkeeping company, Jennifer reflects on her journey by talking to The Industry Leaders.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I went straight from college to training as an accountant within a local accountancy practice. I set up my own practice whilst on maternity leave just over 20 years ago.
Then, in 2016, both my parents were diagnosed with cancer. Life became more complicated and made me reflect on where I wanted my business to go.
I visited a women's networking group, and it stood out to me that business owners did not understand their finances; they procrastinated over what to do. This meeting motivated me to help more businesses to take action not to just comply with HMRC but to help their businesses grow.
I also have future plans to run supportive workshops and to produce a financial planner.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I help people keep accurate, precise records that are compliant. But my main objective is to help clients understand their numbers and deal with their fears and worries.
I feel it's just as important to have a good relationship with them to help them make decisions on planning their future and understand their individual vision.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Seeing the changes in technology over the last few years has given people back time to spend on working on their businesses and family time, rather than spending evenings keeping records up-to-date.
This tech also enables businesses to react and pivot so much quicker. This has never been so important as during the last 12 months.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"Throw that rucksack over the wall."
Was advice given by a business coach a few years ago. It basically means to commit to doing something even if it's out of your comfort zone.
What, or who inspires you?
My clients ultimately inspire me when I see their vision for their businesses and how they work to achieve these visions even during a pandemic year.
I am also inspired by other female entrepreneurs, especially those with a similar background, like Lisa Johnson. It makes me see that anything is possible.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Talking to people within my professional body, networking, social media and building connections with other business owners.
I also continue with further training to keep my accounting skills up-to-date and relevant.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
The last few years have seen many close family illnesses and deaths. This has been difficult whilst running my own practice and, although challenging, has helped me realise that I am good at working under stressful situations and that I am resilient. It's also taught me that I'm good at helping others deal with their individual fears and stresses and putting them at ease.
I loved that recently a client told me she had felt 'accountancy pampered'. It makes dealing with stressful situations all worthwhile!
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Once I got over the shock, I would set my children up with a home and a business and clear other family mortgages.
I love what I do and enjoy my clients' successes as if they were my own. So I would continue helping them whilst travelling the world with my husband. Visiting such places as Japan, Canada and the USA, to name but a few.
And lastly, I would fulfil my husband's dream of owning and running a ranch.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I like to catch up with my husbands day whilst having dinner and walking the dog. I also like to check in with both my children as, being an empty nester, I still want to know what's going on!
I love to watch films, particularly disaster films and, at the weekends, I love to travel in my purple VW classic campervan.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would like businesses to fully understand their numbers and feel that accountants need to be more approachable to have a stronger connection to their clients.
This would ultimately make their clients feel like somebody has their back and will help them succeed with their individual visions.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I love loads of books, so this is such a hard question, but I've recently read several books by Fearne Cotton. 'Speak Your Truth' and 'Quiet' to name two, but these have really helped me with my mindset.
How should people connect with you?
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jenbookkeeping
My website is in development, and my Free Facebook group will be launching in the next few weeks.
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