Interview with Faye Watts, Partner at FUSE Accountants LLP

Brewer Morris is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange

Brewer Morris interviewed Faye Watts, Partner at FUSE Accountants LLP.

International Womens day

Do you have any secrets to having a successful career?
Goals are really important, and particularly audacious ones. These are your life goals and you need a goal that stretches you, even if it is big and scary, it should still be possible. Decide on your main life priorities and what work/life balance you want because you may need to prioritise what you need to do in the short-term to achieve these things. Never presume it will be an easy ride but with knowledge and experience you can work smart and still be hungry to strive for the best things in life! Those life achievements along the way will forever inspire you.

I have made many mistakes over the years and perhaps not had the maturity to assess situations as best I could at the time, but I have learned to always move forward and improve myself and become more observant of my actions. Women have a real sense of genuine emotional intelligence and this is an excellent asset to have to be able to read situations and be a good leader.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Yourself. Those around you are a mirror image of yourself and vice versa. If you want to be a leader in the future, be a leader now and recognise good leadership and surround yourself with those people for your own benefit.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you in the workplace?
Blame culture, we live in a society where everyone wants to blame their environment and other people for their shortcomings. Be responsible for your own actions, be mature and determined and turn every challenge into a positive opportunity to learn and deal with something new.

What advice would you give aspiring women in your industry?
Get involved, be pro-active, engage with your peers and partners and learn from them. Show your value, be noticed for the right reasons and show good leadership skills. Find a workplace where you can stand out, write articles, be valuable to the clients, be noticeable for your skill set and mindset. Be conscious of who’s watching you and the perception they may have of you.

What would your advice be to women who are trying to achieve their career ambitions?
As above - don’t be scared to believe in yourself. You can do any job for the money, however, determination and a strength of character will allow you to see every challenge as an opportunity. Stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone regularly. I don’t suggest job hopping but be noticed in whatever job you do by being the best you can be at that role and the next role above you.

How do you achieve work life balance?
Decide what your priorities are – is it family life, or wealth and career? What is more important to you at the moment and for the future, and how do you go about achieving it? Your priorities may change. Decide what makes you happy as this is totally subjective as everyone is different.

What were the main drivers in helping you succeed in your career?
Life goals. Achieving moments in life, some for pride, some for personal memories. I’ve always been driven by new opportunities and proving myself! I’m a dreamer and I visualise the life I want so that I can achieve it.

What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
Leadership and ownership are the most important skill sets you can have. These will be the core foundations for a good career. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur but they can be excellent leaders and this starts from changing your mindset. I believe if you take life with an open-mind you can learn and achieve anything. Most importantly remember that as a leader, you are a mirror and everyone around you will be a reflection of you and your behaviour. What you put out will come back tenfold. A good leader has emotion and kindness and it is often wrongly presumed that to be a good leader you need to be a ball-breaker. Those days are gone!

If senior management within your industry or sector is historically weighted towards males, have you noticed any changes in the last several years?
Women are certainly equally applying for finance and accounting roles now, and of course many women will always want to stop/pause their career for family life. As a result, this will always mean there are less women at the top and there is nothing wrong with this. But why not create your own destiny and start your own practice or other business.