Last year marked the inaugural ‘Women in Finance’ awards which identify leading women across all sectors of the finance industry. These awards recognize the accomplishments of women leading in their field. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, many of these women have had a tough journey on their path to success. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. As greater recognition is bestowed upon the successes of women, there is an increasing wave towards recognising our accomplishments for what they are. That we simply do what we do, gender aside. Remarkably, what we do can be life changing. Being able to inspire, promote positive change and improve the lives of others is a very humbling position to be in.
As winner of the 2017 Women in Finance Bookkeeper of the Year award, I was truly honoured. I had already won Bookkeeper of the Year – Australian Accounting Awards, earlier that year. But the Women in Finance Awards was something different. More than ever, I felt the importance of raising the profile of our bookkeeping industry, and more specifically in having bookkeepers understand how important they are to the success of businesses. Bookkeepers tend to undervalue their skills and the importance of their roles as advisors. As a role model for bookkeepers, I hoped to inspire them to believe in and to aspire to goals they never thought previously possible. As a role model for women, I am thankful that I can encourage women to look beyond limiting factors to break through to the real objective which is assisting business success.
I do this by proactively seeking engagements where I can make a difference to the audience, such as speaking at the AccountEx UK event in May. This and other overseas participations assist to broaden my horizons and enable input to shape the future of our industry. This profile means that my opinions are sought after as an industry leader on various advisory boards, such as the Intuit Professional Advisor Council, ATO STP Focus Group and as an ABA industry representative. For each I am asked to provide guidance and input on relevant products and solutions. A representational process that I value highly and allows me to enhance my visibility and therefore to be more accessible.
Earlier this week I was in Sydney to attend the 2018 Women in Finance Awards. Once again I was up for the ‘Bookkeeper of the Year’ award, but also for ‘Thought Leader of the Year’. I do not envy the role of the judges in making their decisions as they seek to single out a winner from so many high-class submissions. All finalists are to be commended on their achievements and to be named a finalist is an achievement in itself. With no expectations on the night, to have been named winner ‘Bookkeeper of the Year’ again in 2018 came as a total shock.
The table I sat at was what you would call ‘the wedding guest table where you sat those guests that you didn’t know where else to put’. What a wonderful table it was! Seven women, one man, four finalists – eight supportive, inclusive, talented people ready to celebrate hard! This table summed up the Women in Finance Awards. It is about people coming together to celebrate achievements – your own and those of others. How incredible it is when like-minded people come together.
Placed on the spot for an acceptance speech, I led with my strong advocacy of self-belief – Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with those who believe in you. Good things will follow, and magic will happen. Returning to my table, I was met with applause, cheers and affirmation that I had hit the right note with my speech. Thank you Table 65, for making my night!
Today, I think I have put aside my shock and yes, my embarrassment of having won again. Now I embrace this win for what it is. A bloody remarkable achievement that I do not take lightly. It is an opportunity for me to continue to lead from the front, encouraging others to stand tall and to put aside small mindedness. I am thankful that my chosen field is full of supportive people. These awards showcased that even more significantly as strangers came together to uplift and cheer each other on. The positive energy of this achievement cannot be underestimated. The momentum of back to back wins propels me to invest in the industry even further. I look ahead to the future and to the changes I can help facilitate. Together we achieve more. Together we are stronger. Together.