FAYE WATTS – STRATEGIC BUSINESS CONSULTANT & PARTNER AT FUSE ACCOUNTANTS
Tell us a little about yourself and your career background?
Following a spate of multiple career choices, I found myself being offered a job as a tax accountant nearly 20 years ago, and this time I stuck at it! I launched my own accountancy firm back in 2010, with my partner Steve, to help small businesses get good quality accountancy and tax support and advice.
What started as a lifestyle business, soon dramatically evolved and now involves a team of 14, and growing. Over the years my own role within the firm has continually transitioned and my main area of expertise is now around strategic business growth consulting.
What led to the decision to start your own business?
When I launched FUSE, it will purely because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make tax jargon a thing of the past and wanted to help my clients grow their businesses.
Having worked in larger central London accountancy firms, I was all too familiar with the constant billing requirements and demands, and wanted to build a practice with integrity that had no boundaries, and if I wanted to work on a project or client for no fee then that was entirely at my discretion. I didn’t want to cut my clients short and didn’t want to be watching the clock.
Tell us more about your own consulting services and Hub Club?
As my business has evolved, I’ve progressed more utilising my advisory skills and I launched the Hub Club last year in 2018 to help businesses implement processes and growth strategies for increased profitability and sustainability, i.e. so they can make more money, work less and be around for a while!
The Hub Club takes the form of a monthly online mastermind club and quarterly workshops, which bring a variety of clients together to work on their goals and aspirations. I bring my business expertise to the table to offer solutions and guidance but the members find themselves equally accountable to each other which in turn helps them to get to the next level. It allows different mind-sets to work together but ultimately I facilitate the conversation and mentor the members throughout their journey.
What advice would you give women wanting to make it in finance?
The key to making it in finance as a career is to not allow yourself to be held back by gender stereotypes – finance is an excellent career choice for a woman.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many women in finance on my personal website to find out what makes them tick. The common thread was the desire to help others and also the ability to be comfortable talking about money with clients. Although this seems obvious, this is fundamental to being able to advise, and can go against our social conditioning.
And what are your top tips for fellow entrepreneurs wanting to make a success of their businesses?
Running a business is challenging, there is no denying that. You will be faced with many decisions and need to wear many hats, whilst trying to keep your head above water. The journey will be emotional and exhausting, but ultimately the best thing you ever did!
However, the key to success for me has always been not taking things personally. Passion is vital but take the emotion out of it if you want to keep a level head and make the right decisions!
In addition, to run any business, you must at least take an interest in the finance, even if you don’t understand it all, after all this is probably the main reason you started a business, to make more money and have more freedom, so get talking about it more and don’t shy away from financial or money conversations, there’s no shame in wanting or needing to make a healthy profit.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
If I could do it all again, I’d go back and build the infrastructure better. I’d put down solid foundations and systems and invest in the right technology and training from the start. I often say I spent the first few years of my business ‘winging it’ so I’d make sure the processes were right next time, I wouldn’t want to lose all that sleep again!
And finally, do you have a career motto or mantra you live by?