Empowering and Encouraging Women Into Finance

An interview with Archna Tharani who runs accountancy practice, Oculus Accountancy and has also recently launched a training programme called Your Own Practice which trains and mentors accountants to set up in practice.

How did you get into this?  Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?

I studied Maths at university as I really enjoyed working with numbers. After university, I was very pleased to secure a training contract with KPMG, where I gained my Chartered Accountancy Qualification. I left soon after I qualified and joined the finance department of RVC, the manager of Reuters Greenhouse Fund. I gained a lot of experience of the venture capital industry and managing a finance function as I was promoted to Head of Finance in that role.

I took a career break to have my children and when I was ready to come back to work I started looking at different career choices. I wasn’t keen to go back to a corporate accountancy role as I was worried about long hours and not having the flexibility. I explored changing careers and researched other professions such as teaching but I always had a desire to run my own business. I did have a lot of ideas such as running a café or a nursery but none of them seemed financially viable and exciting enough for me. Also, I didn’t want to just give up on all the skills and experience I had gained in the financial industry but how could I combine that with flexibility and financial reward.

I reached out to an old contact of mine who had been running her accountancy practice for 18 years. We met for a coffee and in about an hour I realised a potential opportunity to buy her practice as she was looking to retire. This was now ticking a lot of boxes, I would be running my own business so have the flexibility, I would be using all my skills and knowledge and it was already a profitable business. After about 6 months of research, due diligence and legals we signed on the dotted line and I was the owner of what is now Oculus Accountancy.

In the first year of operation, I made big changes to the business. I converted the whole practice to using “cloud software”, recruited a new team, streamlined all the systems and processes to become a paperless practice. All of which then led us to win “Cloud accounting firm of the year”. I am now a speaker at conferences and events and also a consultant in helping other practices convert to the “cloud”.

Can you explain what a typical day for you would be?

I commute into London most days but have the flexibility to work from home. I look at all the deadlines for all the clients and I catch up with the team. I review any work that has to be sent out such as accounts, VAT returns, management information or reports. I usually have either client calls or meetings about their business. I may have new client meeting to pitch for new business. There is always some practice management tasks to complete such as billing and looking at work in progress, performance reviews, new client quotes etc.

What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?


Yes, it is a very good job for a woman as if set up correctly using all the latest technology you can work from anywhere so can offer flexibility. It requires good management skills to both manage the reporting deadlines and the all the client commitments. Also as the profession is still dominated by males, being a woman really helps to make you stand out and sets you apart.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering this profession?

Although it is a very technical profession, you can use the technical skills to really add value to businesses and the profession is held in high regard. It offers variety, flexibility and real challenge at time which can be very rewarding. You really can choose what type of work and how much you want to do whether that’s working from your kitchen table or world domination!

What’s your best financial advice for any woman?

Manage your finances and build up your own savings. Keep your independence with money and plan your spending. Gain knowledge around the most tax efficient savings and investments and make use of all the allowances available.




Empowering and Encouraging Women in Finance:

an interview with 24 year old Anna Tsyupko who heads up the London-based team of engineers, designers, marketers and payments experts behind the Paybase Platform – the end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk. It also powers the company’s own consumer proposition, Payfriendz – a popular P2P app for students and millennials.

Anna’s previous roles have included: Fund Manager at Bellring Capital – a European Family Office; Head of Investor Relations at a German Private Equity Firm; and Executive Director at SeBuT Immobilien.

How did you get into this? Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?

Mine was certainly a more roundabout journey. At university I studied Theology and Religious Studies and enjoyed the versatility that the degree offered – it included aspects of languages, history, philosophy, art and sociology.

Through mere coincidence I ended up joining a German Private Equity company where I spent a few years looking after various investments – ranging from vegan fashion to PropTech.

It is in the context of the Private Equity company that I first came into contact with Paybase (then Payfriendz). I was appointed as the investment controller for this project and supervised it for almost three years before being asked to join as part of management.

Can you explain what a typical day for you would be?

My days vary a lot, depending on whether I have external meetings, big deadlines or important events coming up. As a rule, however, I tend to spend the first hour or so of the day prioritising my work to make sure that I use my time as efficiently as possible. I have come to learn that taking the time to pick out high-leverage tasks and put them above all other tasks is crucial for staying focused.

At 10.15 every day my team and I do a 5-10 minute stand-up where we cover what we have been working on the day before, our plans for the day and whether we have any blockers. We have taken this practice over from our tech team (and tech teams more generally) and I find it to be a great way to align and make sure that everyone has what they need to continue with their work.

The hours following this and up until lunch tend to be spent catching-up with a member of the team, interviewing new potential hires, having catch-up calls with our key suppliers, or out talking to potential prospective partners.

In the afternoon I try to spend a few hours getting on with my own tasks – be it working on the latest financial forecast and pricing strategy, or important banking relationships or contract work for our prospective partners.

The last few hours of the day I tend to catch-up with different departments – be it Marketing and Sales, Compliance and Operations, Design or Customer Support – to stay up to date, help prioritize tasks and sign off on future actions.

What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?

As a Tech company, the majority of our team is male even though our CTO and I have been trying to get more women aboard. However, we have been keen to, and I believe successful in making our work environment a place that is collaborative, supportive, inspiring for both women and men.

As for the FinTech, Tech and Payments Industries more generally, they are still fields largely dominated by men. This has both its advantages and disadvantages: on the one hand, it is easier to gain profile as a woman in these industries, but on the other hand it is much more difficult to tap into a predominantly male network.

Ideally, both these disadvantages and advantages will soon disappear making it equally easy or difficult for women and men to succeed in this world. In the meantime, however, I would say that leading a FinTech company is an exciting job for a woman as it allows you to further dismantle the gender stereotypes around different professions.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering this profession?

Be passionate about payments or technology or about how technology can help turn industries fraught with legacy on their heads.

What’s your best financial advice for any woman?

If you’re running a business, make sure to get the accounting right from the very beginning – neglecting it at first and then having to sort out the mess will cost you a lot of time, stress and nerves! If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, hire an experienced accountant from the start. I promise it will pay off.



Eileen Adamson of is a money coach, helping clients feel in control of their finances.

Eileen, tell us about what you do now…


Eileen AdamsonI run an online coaching business, helping UK based women to make the most of their lives, through improving their relationship with money.  I help them to feel calm, relaxed and positive about money, allowing them to feel confident and in control of their finances. Through creating a good relationship with money, my clients can then live life on their terms and enjoy their lives to the full.


How did you get into this?  Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?

I have definitely had a roundabout journey to get to where I am today. I did a degree in Physical Education and have been a PE teacher for over 23 years. Despite loving my job as a PE teacher, I found that I was struggling to keep up with the demands of a young family, my teaching career and also bookkeeping for my husband’s construction business.


I retrained as a bookkeeper, reduced my teaching commitment to 2 days per week and started my own bookkeeping business. I did this successfully for 8 years, but felt that I could help more people with their finances, other than my bookkeeping clients.


I eventually discovered Financial Coaching and just knew that this was what I wanted to do! Coaching is so powerful, because it gives people the power to help themselves.


After completing a certificate in Life Coaching, followed by a specific Financial Coaching course I started my Your Money Sorted business. Through online courses and one-to-one coaching, I now help UK based women to improve their lives, through being confident and in control of their finances.


Can you explain what a typical day for you would be?

I still teach PE 2 days per week, so on those days I head off to school in my trackies and spend the day teaching teenagers. I still love my teaching and really love working with teenagers – there is never a dull moment!

The rest of my week is really varied. My favourite thing is working with clients and seeing them progress and gain in confidence. This can be meeting clients individually or, more often, responding to clients online.

I also have lots of administration tasks to complete, such as updating my website, setting up adverts, managing social media accounts, networking with other people in my field and marketing to new potential clients.

I am always looking for new ideas for blog posts, so I spend a bit of time researching and writing posts that I hope will be useful to my followers.
At some point every day I also have mum duties and have 3 starving teenagers to feed and ferry around!

What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?

I would say that it’s a great job for a woman, especially for one with children. I have found that working for myself is really flexible – I can make time in my diary to attend school sports days/concerts etc, which is a lovely bonus. Also working from home has made it easier to cope with times when the kids have been ill, which is thankfully not that often.

The thing that I love most about my coaching is the difference that it makes to my clients. Seeing them grow and flourish, as they take control of their situation, is amazing and brings me such a feeling of satisfaction. I think that many women love to feel that they are making a difference, so they too would get an immense feeling of joy from doing a job like this.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering this profession?

Never give up! I am constantly learning new skills and having to adapt and change as I go along. If you love a challenge, are undaunted by obstacles and excited about making your business work, then go for it!

What’s your best financial advice for any woman?

Learn about compound interest!  It can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and learning as much about it as possible will help you throughout your life.


Financial re-parenting: Creating a healthier relationship with money as adults

Dr Lisa Orban If, as Faye’s research has found, your family are likely to be your financial role models, what do you do if your family members just aren’t appropriate? Even more challenging, how do you make good financial decisions if you’ve been brought up in a family where less-than-ideal financial role models are the norm? Clinical psychologist and personal brand consultant Dr Lisa Orban of looks at ways that you can shrug off their mistakes and re-programme yourself to create a healthier relationship with money.


Step 1: Investigate your own values

Even though your values may be influenced by your family of origin, you will still have developed your own, so take some time to assess what these may be. You may find that security and responsibility are very important to you, for instance, prompting you to ask how you can break away from any irresponsible behaviour your family may have demonstrated in the past. Analyse your spending and saving patterns. Is there a discrepancy between your behaviours and your values? If so, take a look at steps you could take to live in better accordance with these values, no matter how small.

Step 2: Awareness

If your Mum spent money like there was no tomorrow and this made you uncomfortable, then there is most likely some discord there that might benefit from a little introspection. What was it about this behaviour that unsettled you and how can you prevent that happening in your own situation? It doesn’t have to be reckless behaviour. For example, perhaps your parents have worked hard but struggled to pay the rent/mortgage, which has left you feeling anxious about purchasing your own home. What exactly made you uncomfortable about their money habits? Is it anticipatory anxiety that you will one day find yourself in a similar position? These messages from the past do not have to control you today. How can you flip these messages to create good money habits that serve you? What can you learn from their situation?

 Step 3: Positive Role Models

As the saying goes, you can’t choose your family. But you can choose more positive financial role models. Actively be on the lookout for positive role models amongst your friends, colleagues and people that you know. If your neighbours have impressed you by paying off their mortgage why not ask them for tips that could help you do the same, or get inspired by that colleague who batch cooks and brings the most delicious smelling healthy meals into the office whilst saving money at the same time.

Step 4: Look at Your Legacy for Risk

If you’ve ever wondered why you have that particular approach to risk, look to what you observed with your parents. If your dad left a well-paid job to start a business and it turned out well, you’re likely to have a positive attitude towards take risk; if it ended in disaster then taking risks may not be so appealing, especially if that decision ended up affecting you in some way, such as curtailing your piano lessons or preventing you from attending a University away from home. How does this help you? If you have to assess a situation or make a decision where some element of risk is involved, it can be helpful to think about how much your childhood may be influencing your view of things. The best approach is to be aware, put that aside, and try to assess your decisions from a detached and more objective viewpoint. Get another objective set (or two) of eyes on the situation by asking advice from experts or others you trust.

Step 5: re-education.

Given that you may have had years of little or no financial education (or the wrong financial education), a little re-education may be in order. Pick up a few books about money as well as the financial pages of magazines and newspapers. Be your own financial parent and teach yourself what you need to know, whether that’s how to put together a budget or start to invest.  Invest in some sessions with professionals like Faye for tax advice or business strategy, or a financial planner who can add to that knowledge.  Go armed with questions and really use your time with them.

Bringing together her extensive training, experience and passion in both psychology and branding, Dr. Lisa Orban founded Golden Notebook. A clinical psychologist, Lisa trained and practised in New York City for eleven years before relocating to London. Lisa helps clients make a name for themselves by discovering their distinct and authentic personal brand. She takes a unique approach to personal branding that combines psychological assessment and theory with branding strategies to create for powerful and enduring individual change and personal impact. She is currently offering complementary introductory consultations.

Financial re-parenting: Creating a healthier relationship with money as adults

Family Has The Most Influence On Our Money Habits

New Survey Reveals We Turn To family Above Money Gurus

money habitsWhen I launched a survey into women’s attitudes around money I little expected to find that almost over 41% of respondents cited a family member as their financial role model, far above and beyond financial gurus or business celebrities like Richard Branson.


I was initially surprised by such a high percentage, but, if you think about it, it makes sense. We see our families dealing with money issues first hand; we’ve observed how they have dealt with problems, saved for the future and it’s natural that those values will have been passed down to us.”


Rather than claiming to be inspired by six figure salaries or flourishing business empires, participants talked about their family struggles and successes in day to day life:


“Mother. She was widowed and raised 2 children .If she didn’t have the money she wouldn’t buy it. “


“My dad, because he came from nothing and will now retire as the CEO of his own company that survived the financial crisis.”


“My grandparents – they worked in factories all their lives but made decisions that have them extremely comfortable now they are elderly.”


“My mum, she has had to live to a strict budget for as long as I can remember, but always managed to give us most things we wanted.”


“My parents. Really struggled when I was young, worked hard, climbed ladder and most importantly appreciated, and enjoyed, their money when it started to roll in. Saved well too.”


“Parents – mortgage free and still earning. Brothers/sisters for handling money and lifestyle well.”


“My mother. She’s always been good at money management and making the best decisions when it comes to financial matters.”


Overall, a pride in family and their financial successes shines through the data. People are proud of their parents working their way up; and their hard work that has paid off the mortgage.  It’s a heart-warming revelation that, despite the world of celebrities and social media, our values and approach to life is still influenced by those we hold dear.


My own parents, especially my Mum, had a huge influence on my approach to work and money. I was brought up with a strong work ethic: I had my first job when I was 13. Mum worked hard. I remember her working tirelessly so that I could have piano lessons, but she also had a sense of giving: she wasn’t bothered about the monetary value of things but the pleasure of them, and this has given me a good attitude towards both earning and enjoying money.
Family Has The Most Influence On Our Money Habits



Empowering and Encouraging Women in Finance: an interview with another woman who has used a financial career to leverage her into something even bigger. Nicole Bremner of East-Eight and London Central Developments explains…

Nicole, please tell us about what you do now…and your financial background previously…

nicole-bremnerI’m the co-founder of a boutique, London based property development company London Central Developments (LCD). I’m also the founder of East Eight a property investment fund which manages our own funds and raises investor funds to finance LCD’s developments. We raise funds from high net worth investors as well as via crowdfunding. I’m especially excited about the crowdfunding as it allows those with as little as £500 invest in property developments generally only available to larger investors.

I started a pre-med degree after school but switched to commerce once I realised I didn’t want to study 7 years to become a dentist. I then started working fulltime at a broking firm while continuing my education via distance learning. I also completed the equivalent of an IFA qualification and became the youngest qualified IFA in Australia at the time.

Upon moving to London I worked for a couple of fund managers in equity research.

How did you get into this?  Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?

Property was very much a roundabout journey. I’d had three kids in three years and knew I couldn’t go back into the City. It was my partner who suggested that I get into property. I bought my first development project in 2012 and haven’t looked back.

Can you explain what a typical day for you would be then?

I start each day at around 6-7am by rolling out of bed and straight onto my yoga mat. I go through a number of sun salutations and poses before facing the chaos of getting my kids ready for school. Once they’re on the school bus I either go downstairs to my home gym or for a 14km run. I then have either a giant smoothie or soy yoghut with seeds and berries for breakfast. By 10am I’m either working at home with my team or at The Devonshire Club. I do spend a few hours a week going around to visit sites in construction meeting with the project managers and making decisions on various stages of the build. Lunch is often sushi if I’m at The Devonshire or soup with good bread at home. I also meet with investors and potential investors as well as a couple of people I mentor.

Between 5 and 7 I pick up my kids from various after school activities, we have dinner together and then I put them to bed. Sometimes I speak at events in the evening or have client drinks. If not I watch something on Amazon Prime or Netflix while working on my laptop or phone. I always read for at least 30 minutes before sleep and then try to switch off by 10:30-11:00.

What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?

Property is a great choice for women or anyone who would like flexible working conditions. I can completely plan my work days and try never to miss my children’s special events.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering that profession?

Just do it. Find someone you admire in the industry and ask to shadow them or be mentored by them. It does help if you have a bit of money to invest in your own property initially but this can also just be your own home. Just start though. Don’t overcomplicate things or wait for the stars to align. They never will. Just start doing it and things will fall into place.

How has it helped you in what you’re doing now?

Being a woman perhaps helps because we do have a different approach to risk. Perhaps it makes investors more likely to invest with me. I don’t really know. But having an all woman team in this industry is unique and our female investors like it.
Has it hindered you at all?

It was hard in the beginning to be taken seriously. Agents would just think I was someone’s wife with a bit of money to play with. One told me to go back to playing with my doll’s house and leave property to the big boys. Needless to say I didn’t work with him. I sometimes am included on emails and then get sent the invoice as they think I’m the secretary or bookkeeper rather than a business partner. Another misconception is that I look after the interiors while my business partner looks after the construction. We’re both actively involved in both. But really these incidents are isolated and it’s not happened much. As long as I perform and purchase properties when I say I will agents and other consultants respect me.

What’s your best financial advice for any woman?

Ensure that you have good advice. Whether that be an accountant, lawyer, or both, be sure to structure your business correctly from the outset as it will solve many problems that might arise as you continue. Ensure the structure is scalable too so it can grow as your business grows.

Also make sure you reward yourself. Don’t just pay yourself a pittance or you’ll burn out and become bored. Reward yourself properly. At the end of each project I purchase myself a nice piece of jewellery or art. It is a little something for me to reward me for the hard work I’ve put in.



Empowering and Encouraging Women in Finance: an interview with Orla Shields at who used her  financial background to springboard her into a whole new career as a digital entrepreneur…

Orla, please tell us about what you do now…and your financial background…

orla-shields-bw_1I’m Co-founder and CEO at GetRentr.  I’m responsible for driving the company’s vision, strategy and growth  as we seek to provide interesting and unique ways to improve the rental experience and transform the way landlords and tenants interact with renting.  GetRentr is the new way for landlords and tenants to connect and manage their properties on-the-go. With a few taps and swipes they can quickly resolve issues, find trusted tradesmen and stay up-to-date with important events and reminders.

How did you get into this?  Did you attend university, and/or fall straight into a role or was it a more roundabout journey?

It was definitely a roundabout journey!  I studied Business, Economics and Social studies and spent my early career training as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst and Young – there I learned how different banks and financial services companies work, managed big teams, worked under pressure and did my Chartered Accountancy exams.  Truth be told, the accountant identity never sat that well with me, so after becoming a manager I left EY at the height of the Irish recession to work with the Irish Central Bank in recapitalising the Irish banks.

Like most great ideas, the idea for my company GetRentr was born out of  a frustrating experience, well that, and my need to have an interesting job which makes a difference.  After 2 years at the Central Bank I was lucky enough to work for the London Olympic Organising Committee and after that no ordinary job would do, so I decided I would create my own next life changing job opportunity and solve a big problem at the same time!  I moved to London to work on London 2012. I had a particularly bad experience renting in that first year mostly in relation to my relationship with our estate agent and landlord and had a protracted debacle trying to get my deposit back.  I felt frustrated and a little powerless in the situation.  As I looked for my next career move post Olympics I started thinking about how it could be possible to revolutionise the whole rental experience and raise standards in the industry using technology to create something that had mutual benefits for both landlords and tenants! I took a job as a Commercial Director of a digital ad agency to learn more about tech and how I could start realising my business idea.

Can you explain what a typical day for you would be then?

A typical day involves getting up around 6am to cycle (road cycling is my major other obsession in life), I live in Camden and usually do an hour of laps of Regents Park before work a few days during the week.  From there, I head to our office in Shoreditch. I usually do 30 minutes of emails before a 30 minute catch up with my businesses partner and CTO Alex on the technical side of the business. After that, every day can be so different. Because we are still so small, I generally have to roll up my sleeves and pitch in to do a bit of everything.  At the moment we’re fundraising for our seed round so a lot of my time is spent meeting potential investors and pitching, as well as on business development for our B2B product. The wonderful (though sometimes annoying) thing is that every day is different!

What’s your experience from a woman’s point of view. Would you say it is a good job for a woman?

Hmmm, I don’t think it’s any different as a woman or a man to be honest.  As women are said to be better multi-taskers, perhaps it is a better job for a woman!  The area of Prop-tech is quite male dominated at the moment and I definitely feel ‘different’ on occasion when I attend some events.  I always see myself as equal to men whether it’s during cycling training, negotiating contracts or pitching my business.  There are definitely challenges to being a female entrepreneur, for example just 6% of global Venture Capital  partners are women and studies have shown that female Venture Capitalists are 2.5 times more likely to fund female-led businesses than male VCs but you can’t let that stop you trying to achieve what you need to. You just have to see yourself as one of the people improving these statistics!

What would your advice be to someone thinking of entering this profession?

Anyone can be an entrepreneur if they believe in what they are doing but you have to really want to do it and not be afraid of both hard work and the many ups and downs.  My best tip is to surround yourself with clever and experienced mentors who can help guide and support you when you need it – so much is trial and error and asking lots of questions!

What’s your best financial advice for any woman?

Definitely take an interest in the financial side of things, it’s not that hard and most things can be googled these days – knowledge is power!