5 tips for success from a woman at the top of her accountancy game

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Francesca Lagerberg is global leader for tax services for Grant Thornton, and recently spoke to Accounting Technician magazine about how women can be successful in the finance and accountancy sector.

Francesca has worked in tax for more than 20 years and is a regular commentator on radio and television. She started working at Grant Thornton UK as a partner in 2006, and has since risen to become global leader for tax services for Grant Thornton International.

She believes accountancy generally has a good track record for diversity compared to other professional services: “Accountancy is setting the pace. It is good for business, as research shows, to have diversity, because you have a broader range of views, which can challenge the status quo.”

Here are Francesca’s five key pieces of advice for progression in the accountancy:

1. Spend time developing yourself

“Work out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Find an employer that is willing to nurture and sponsor your development and help you expand your skills.”

2. Mentors are brilliant too

“Role models matter. A good mentor can show you that anything’s possible. That’s true for everyone – not just for women.”

3. Seize opportunities

This is a lesson women can particularly learn from. According to a Hewlett Packard report, men will apply for a job when the only have 60% of the skills and qualifications required, whereas women tend to apply when they have 100% of them. “It’s not always necessary to tick every ‘experience’ box on the CV before you put yourself forward. Start before you’re completely ready: that can sometimes be better.”

4. Keep yourself educated

“Seize the chance to stay up to date. It shows you’re committed and it’s putting you in the best place to take advantage of opportunities.”

5. Be brave

“Jump in with both feet. The opportunities that are bit scary are often the most rewarding for your career development.”


Mark Rowland is a journalist and former editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.

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