Rebecca, Audit Manager
Rebecca is an Audit Manager at a big 4 firm in Manchester, who has moved just over two years ago from a small city in North West of England. She is the woman behind the instagram page One Corporate Blonde - her fashion diary which she started because she felt there was no fashion inspiration for young ambitious women in the corporate world.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background.
I’m Rebecca. My day job is an audit manager at a big 4 firm in Manchester, UK. I’m from a small city in the North West of England but moved to Manchester just over two years ago, mainly to experience city living. So far so good…
When not at work you’ll find me either booking holidays, at Barry’s Bootcamp (best workout ever if you haven’t tried it you need to!), or binging on Netflix series. To be honest this is where I get most of my fashion inspiration – I love Kerry Washington’s character Olivia Pope in Scandal and there isn’t an episode of suits I don’t pause to take a picture of one of the female cast to search for something similar online later.
I’ve just set up a business fashion Instagram page called One Corporate Blonde. I’m loving it so far and am just working on building my following at the moment. I’m not sure my boyfriend is loving being the designated photographer though!
Let's Talk Business
What is your day job and how did you get into it?
My role is audit manager. I won’t go into the details but basically an audit is checking the accounts companies are about to publish and circulate to their investors and shareholders are free from errors. This is done by looking at each different element of the financial statements in a significant detail.
The first step of working in an audit practice is studying towards a professional accountancy qualification which takes 3 years of solid work, usually after a degree (I’m an ACA Chartered Accountant in the UK). Most firms offer training contracts where they pay you through your exams and in return you take a lower salary whilst balancing your time between studying and working. It’s very full on but rewarding at the same time.
Tell us more about your journey.
The beauty of audit is that no two days are the same. Meeting people that you wouldn’t usually meet at such a young age has to be the highlight for me. Almost every single day you gain exposure to high profile individuals such as CEOs and other senior executives of large worldwide listed businesses which turnover billions of pounds in sales each year. These are the people at the top who have worked so hard to get where they are and even just being in a room with them I find inspirational.
My typical day consists of status meetings on current project’s I’m working on, reviewing the team’s work, catch ups with more senior team members and preparing documents for sharing with the Board of client’s companies. I’ll usually be out at a client’s site in their offices which offers a great element of travel with the job too. I have set times where I look at my emails throughout the day as to not get distracted. It sounds weird I know but it really does make you get more done in the time you’re at work. My rule is that if something is really important whoever has emailed should call you instead!!
What is the one thing you believe has helped you succeed and what advice would you give to someone wanting to do the same job?
Always bearing in mind the end goal is absolutely key to success. Everyone is their own person and has different goals. Goals can also change as you set out within a career so it’s also important to remember that. When I’m having a stressful day I just take 5 minutes to reflect on what great opportunities will come my way if I work hard early on in my career.
Finding a good mentor in the workplace is also priceless. The Office Senior Partner at my firm is a woman and she is just brilliant. She balances the stresses of work and her clients with being a busy parent and always does it with a smile on her face. She continually takes time out to chat and catch up with me when I see her, which deep down I know is time she just doesn’t have, which is why it is so invaluable.
What is one book you'd suggest people read?
I love Michelle Obama and her autobiography, Becoming is such a good read. I always find it interesting to learn about the lives of ultra-famous and successful people before they were famous and having read this I love her even more.
I do find it difficult finding the time to read so enjoy a podcast. They are so easy to listen to on the commute. I’ve been listening to TED Talks recently where there’s a series with Shonda Rhimes who’s the creator of Greys Anatomy and Scandal. She’s a self-confessed workaholic so I think this might be why she appeals to me.
How would you describe your business style?
I try to stick to classic corporate with a small modern twist, even if this just means wearing a detailed on-trend blouse underneath a classic black suit. I love high-waisted trousers at the moment, but can not get enough of a traditional pencil dress or two piece suit. A simple thing such as a belt, shoes, bag or even the way your hair is styled can take an outfit from boring to brilliant in no time.
What advice would you give those dressing for a new job?
Definitely do your homework by starting the company website. Here, you’ll always find an ‘our people’ section which usually includes the name of the senior management team. I’d then search their profiles on linkedin (if you do it on a desktop not a smart phone or ipad without being logged in yourself they won’t know you’ve looked (top tip!). From this, you’ll be able to see what they are wearing in their profile picture and can get a good gage from this.
A lot of the larger accountancy and law firms (mine being one of them) are now opting for a dress down or dress for your day policy. Even if this is the case I’d still dress corporate to start with as first impressions really do count.
What trends do you like to wear in the corporate fashion space?
To be honest, I find it difficult to find new trends in the corporate fashion space which is partially why I turn to Instragram, blogs and pinterest for inspiration and why I set up my own page. Being quite young in the corporate environment, I want to feel confident in what I’m wearing as when I feel more confident in my outfit this definitely shows in my body language. Most on-trend fashion at the moment is difficult to bring fully into a corporate environment which is why work outfits take a lot of thought and planning is key.
You can find Rebecca on Instagram @onecorporateblonde. If you have enjoyed this interview, let us know by leaving a comment down below!