Starting a business to support SMEs: Lyndsay Henderson CA
The CA qualification can be instrumental in striking out on your own, according to Lyndsay Henderson CA, Owner of Stellation Limited and CFO of RPR Professional Recruitment.
"Without the CA qualification, I wouldn’t be where I am today," said Lyndsay. "All my roles have been really diverse and challenging which has definitely kept things interesting. I’ve found ICAS really supportive as I’ve been through the process of setting up my own practice."
Lyndsay qualified with KPMG in 2006 and remained with the firm for a number of years. She then made the move to TalkTalk Telecom Group and the role of Group Financial Reporting Manager in 2009, shortly before the company's de-merger from Carphone Warehouse.
"Without the CA qualification, I wouldn’t be where I am today."
In 2012, Lyndsay was promoted to Head of Group Accounting and held the position until March of this year, when she decided to branch out on her own.
"I set up my own business providing interim and part-time finance director services to SMEs and early stage enterprises," she said. "I’m working with owners of small businesses to help them with financial operations and business strategy."
Stellation Limited offers external financial knowledge and experience to businesses in Reading, Henley and across the Thames Valley. As its first year has progressed, Lyndsay has found that the advantages of being in charge go beyond choosing your own office hours.
"I decided to set up Stellation because I wanted to have more flexibility over my working life and so I could work with SMEs to get directly involved in advising on strategy and success.
"Since starting my own business I’ve met so many people with phenomenal ideas who have taken these and transformed them into viable businesses."
That kind of influence seems to continue at home, where Lyndsay finds plenty of motivation in the form of family and role models.
"I take inspiration from my children. They're full of energy and enthusiasm for everything," she commented.
"I’m also listening to the 'Tough Girl' series of podcasts at the moment. They chronicle women who have done the most amazing sporting challenges and pushed themselves further than they ever thought they would."
The drive to keep going is something that Lyndsay appears to share. She said: "I have had the opportunity to do some amazing things, both in my career and my personal life.
"I have made an effort to go outside of my comfort zone - but I’m definitely not done yet!"
Becoming a CA
The decision to study for the CA qualification stemmed from a love of numbers and a desire to succeed.
"I did a maths degree and wanted to continue to use my analytical and problem solving skills in the business world.
"I decided to seek some practical training and experience which would give me a sound platform on which to build a career. A graduate trainee role studying for a CA qualification seemed like a great option."
The practical experience and professional guidance offered by ICAS proved to be a major draw.
Lyndsay said: "I think the CA qualification is exceptional and, combined with a great training firm, it gives you a solid business grounding which you can take anywhere."
Her final advice was: "Undertaking more study after school and university can be daunting, and the exams are tough, but it’s worth the effort."
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