The view from

Eleanor Shakeshaft FCCA, director of Your Business Accountants, Australia, on harnessing the skills of others

I began my career as an accountant around 32 years ago and I have witnessed huge changes. Today’s customers expect immediate results and as accountants we can now press buttons and the output is instantaneous. However, the profession needs to train us to detect errors and equip us with the skills to analyse and check the credibility and accuracy of our data output. We need to know and be confident that it’s correct.

Technology is crucial to what I do now. It has removed the manual and, quite frankly, laborious and tedious elements of providing a set of accounts or budgets. Technology has provided me with the means to be able to work in a paperless office and communicate with clients without having to be there in the same place. I can be remote, but still feel as if I am near and involved. Also, marketing my business has completely changed from the days when I was prevented by ACCA from advertising to now sharing my knowledge over the internet and social media with potential clients and people I’ve never met before.

Having a professional network is crucial to the service I provide. Drawing on the skillsets of others means that I can focus on the knowledge I can bring to the table and, at the same time, my clients get a ‘one stop shop’. For example, I am not a financial adviser and nor do I want to spend my time trying to be one. Instead I link with someone with an extensive skill-base in that area, which serves my clients better. I advocate that business owners should outsource their bookkeeping and accounting needs to me, so why would I then not do the same with the professional skills and knowledge I offer to them? Being connected allows me to draw on other like-minded professionals and keeps me up-to-date with what is going on in linked industries. I don’t want to work within a bubble; I want to experience the world through others and make sure I’m keeping abreast of the changes that are constantly going on in my industry.

I’m most proud of passing my final round of examinations. I’d given birth to my first daughter prior to sitting them and then fell pregnant with my second shortly after. I passed four exams on the first go. When I received my results, the relief, sense of accomplishment, excitement and happiness I felt has stayed with me. To me it meant that I could now start my career and enjoy my family – the beginning of the next chapter in my life.

I want to build my business into something that will really set me apart, especially for my ability to guide and nurture my clients. I want it to be something of which I can be proud, as well as a business that others talk about and hopefully aspire to replicate. Through technology and processes I want to streamline the manual side of the business and be able to offer a customer service that clients will love.

In brief

PwC University formed

PwC has signed a strategic framework agreement with the Sanya Municipal Government, China, to jointly establish PwC University and build its first international innovation test and demonstration base. Raymund Chao, chairman, Asia Pacific and Greater China at PwC, said the aim is to deepen scientific and technological innovation and talent, creating a ‘future industry-university-research’ ecosystem. ‘In doing so, the idea is to promote practical education, frontier research and industry innovation, as well as to build an international innovation test and demonstration base, which can serve the whole country and the world,’ he said.

First in Botswana

Gosego Motsamai FCCA has been appointed as the first female partner of KPMG Botswana. Motsamai, who is also president of the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants, is one of only two female partners across all the Big Four firms in the South African republic. In announcing the appointment, KPMG Botswana’s chairman, professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, said: ‘Under Gosego’s leadership, we will see KPMG Botswana continue to be a leading professional services firm in the country.’