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To celebrate International Womens day we asked some of Lubbock Fine’s women, Clare Munro, Hazra Patel, Danisha Chadha and Rebecca Lindsay, a few questions about their careers and views on how “women friendly” the profession, and wider industry, is for women.

Started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900’s, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911. It is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements –from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.

Accountancy is still considered to be a very male dominated industry, which makes us proud of our 50% men to women all staff ratio, and 60% to 40% men to women managers ratio. This demonstrates that we’re working hard on our commitment to gender equality in the workplace and particularly, in our workplace.

Clare Munro, senior tax partner

Why a career in accountancy?

I’d always been numerate and my first job out of university was for a computer manufacturer looking after accounting software packages. That gave me some insight into the way businesses operate and record their transactions and results but left me feeling I’d only seen part of the picture. I wanted to understand the business world better. So, having spent a couple of years troubleshooting payrolls and general ledgers I took the plunge and started training!

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?

There have been lots but being a parent and keeping my career going probably tops the list. At times, like all working parents, I’ve felt conflicted but I’ve been lucky to have a supportive husband and colleagues.

Best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Never assume others know better than you!

How did you get to this point?

I trained in audit then went to work for what was, at that time, ‘Price Waterhouse’ to join their corporate tax team. After 14 years there I moved on to owner managed business tax with a local firm, where I became a partner and eventually to Lubbock Fine to head up the tax team.

Advice to women starting out in the industry?

Be curious. Talk to clients and contacts. Ask questions – people like talking about their business.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I was fortunate enough to have worked with women at the top of the profession in the early stages of my career, particularly at Price Waterhouse. They made it clear by example that having a high level career and a family was a realistic possibility.

Hazra Patel, audit manager (specialising in the Charity and Not-For-Profit sector)

Why did you decide to pursue a career in accountancy?

I remember at age eight, admiring my grandfather as an accountant and wanting to be just like him. Fast forward to my final year of my Economics, Statistics and Mathematics degree – everybody around me seemed to know what they wanted to do, which was when I decided to look into accountancy. It seemed logical for someone with my background and I’m glad I made the step.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?

I think the challenges change as your career evolves. In my first year with Lubbock Fine, the biggest challenge was settling into a working environment, which I found particularly difficult as I was quite shy. Then as I progressed, it was managing a work/life balance while finding time to study for the most difficult exams (ACA) I had ever studied for.

It helps to draw on the experience of those who have been through the same challenges, which is where I have been lucky at Lubbock Fine. My mentor, and the people I work with, have provided me with the support to overcome the challenges I faced at every step of my career.

How did you get to where you are now?

By learning from experience and taking on board feedback, both positive and constructive.

Advice to women starting out in the industry?

I would say to not have a pre-conception that you are at a disadvantage because you are a woman. By working hard, building on your experience and passing exams you will give yourself the best opportunity to progress.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

It’s important that you enjoy what you do and for me that has been my biggest professional inspiration. On a personal level, my little girl inspires me to better myself everyday in the hope that I am a good role model to her.

Rebecca Lindsay, audit manager

Why did you decide to pursue a career in accountancy?

I have always loved maths so it seemed natural that I would end up in a career involving numbers. I also knew that a career in accountancy would provide me with a solid professional qualification that could help open doors to different industries and allow me to meet new people.

How did you get to where you are now?

Hard work, perseverance and prosecco!

Advice to women starting out in the industry?

Embrace your differences. Women and men bring different qualities to the workplace but that doesn’t mean one is stronger than the other. A successful workplace needs a mix of all these skills.

Danisha Chadha, director, Lubbock Fine Wealth Management

Why did you decide to pursue a career in financial planning?

I left university with a degree in Physics and felt a career in the City would best utilise the skills I had acquired and suit my energy levels.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career? How did you overcome this?

I have had personal setbacks – but any setback has motivated me to get through it and do better.

Best piece of career advice given to you?

Always stay focussed – keep your eyes on the prize.

How did you get to where you are now?

After leaving university, I joined a graduate training programme and progressed through each role, taking on greater responsibility with each move. I think it’s important to always learn from your experiences.

Advice to women starting out in the industry?

Always do your best, no one can ask more of you than that!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

A variety of people personal to me, and when faced with a difficult situation I always ask myself what would ‘x’ do?