International Women’s Day: Does Accountancy Add up for Females?
Published on 8 March 2018
Louise Grant (39) is a Partner with EQ Chartered Accountants. Based in the firm’s Dundee office, Louise, a mother-of-two, heads up the Healthcare team and has been working with the firm for almost 15 years.
What led you towards a career in accountancy?
When I was applying for university, I chose maths because I always enjoyed it at school. It turned out to be too science-based for me, so I changed to accounting.
How did you become a Partner at EQ?
After four years at university, I secured a graduate position to study for my professional qualifications with one of the firms that eventually merged to become EQ and I worked my way through the ranks. I’ve now worked with EQ for 15 years and love it!
What’s a typical week like?
Some people think accountants spend most of their day at their desk, staring at numbers. Although there is obviously some compliance work involved, I spend a lot of my time meeting clients – not just in Dundee but all over Scotland and beyond. I’d always rather meet clients face-to-face than email them back and forth – my job is about building relationships and providing the best service. Sometimes that might involve popping in on my way home, for example with dental clients who have no time to talk or meet during the working day. I also spend time meeting up with intermediaries like bankers, solicitors and valuers. This ensures that I’m maintaining my network in the local business community which is crucial as many of my clients rely on my personal contacts.
Are there still outdated stereotypes surrounding accountants?
I’m finding this less and less but, when I started out, it was definitely seen as a ‘men in suits’ profession, in the same way as solicitors and bankers used to be perceived. Today, it’s much more of a level playing field where talent, experience and personality are key, not gender. Although the majority of our recent trainee intake is female, when we look at training the next generation of accountants, it’s about getting the right person in position, not the gender.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My favourite part of the job is building relationships, tapping into the human side of business.
I like to find out what’s happening within the business, get to know the clients, how their business ticks. When dealing with business owners, it’s about more than just their job, it’s their livelihood, their life. Only by understanding the greater context and the client’s dreams and aspirations can we really provide the best advice.
Recently, we helped two young, enthusiastic dentists purchase a local dental practice. We supported their journey from start to finish, including securing the funding and assisting with many operational NHS matters you wouldn’t necessarily associate with accountants.
Is accountancy a good profession for women?
It’s a fantastic line of work but, in my view, it’s not about the profession, it’s about your employer and your colleagues. It’s a level playing field and I never encounter any challenges or restrictions related to being female. I’m a Partner like any other Partner – if you work hard, you’ll be rewarded.
It’s also important to note that not everyone who is doing their professional training with us has an accountancy degree. We take on geography graduates, arts and design, the whole range. Sometimes they have to do more professional exams than accountancy graduates but it can be done. We also have lots of school leaver positions. There’s a lot more flexibility within accountancy than you might think!