Working mum conundrum

Accountancy practices are just not geared up for working mums. The truth is,
as a woman, you spend years studying and gaining valuable experience only to
have children and find that you have to choose between family life and career.
Accountancy and children just don’t seem to add up.

I qualified as a certified accountant in 2001 working in a small to medium
sized accountancy practice in Somerset. After having my son in 2004 I decided to
work for myself.

I could not and did not expect a firm of accountants to be flexible enough to
allow me to work short hours knowing that when my son got those common childhood
illnesses I wouldn’t be in. Working part-time hours for myself was the perfect
solution. I worked the hours I chose and my few clients always knew that my
family came first.

However, move forward a couple of years and my son starts school. A fantastic
school, but there will be long holidays to manage. I found myself looking for
accountancy work that was term-time only as I couldn’t take on more clients
myself knowing that for 16 weeks of the year I wouldn’t be available to them.

So, disillusioned by accountancy and feeling in a bit of a rut, I looked for
a new venture ­ something that would be fun and flexible. I wanted to earn good
money, work for myself and ultimately work part-time hours in term time only.
Thanks to the wonderful online world I found the answer ­ a franchise that
allowed me to set up my own business.

I had both music and dance in my background and loved the idea of setting up
the business in my area related to my interests.

Starting up was a lot of hard work. However, with training and ongoing
support from head office, as well as my accountancy background to help me manage
the figures, I now teach nine classes a week and work only 36 weeks of the year.

It’s not just me that thinks this way, there are more franchisee in my line
of business from a finance and accountancy background than any other and their
reasons for starting a business are remarkably similar.

I hope one day to come back into the profession and make a point of keeping
my knowledge up-to-date. However, for now, I am having so much fun, accountancy
will remain on the back burner for the foreseeable future.

Amanda Smith is a MAD

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