9 Mar 2022

International Women's Day - My story: Clare Bowen

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Tell us about your career to date and how you got to your current role in Monahans
I always enjoyed Maths at school and went on to complete a degree in Pure Mathematics. I was unsure what to do after University and when my parents told me I should be an accountant, in keeping with the rebellious child I had always been, I went into Retail management working for Whitbread. I stayed there for four years learning about customer service, costings, how to run a team and lots more. I left when I had my first baby as I wanted to spend time at home, and we were lucky that my husband had a great job so I didn’t need to work.

I spent seven years being a stay at home Mom but in 2008 my husband suddenly died and I needed to restart my career. I decided to finally listen to my parents and I went back to studying, this time for an ACCA qualification. At the same time as studying and looking after two small children I started working as a bookkeeper for a group of companies in Bristol where I learnt from the other side how a business works day to day. I managed to juggle everything I needed to do but only with the help of amazing friends and family.

A year before I qualified, I started work at a small firm in Cirencester to gain some practise experience. I learnt about small owner managed businesses and the issues they faced and realised that as an accountant we could help people to develop their businesses and in turn make their lives easier by taking away the stress of their finances and help them in making informed financial decisions.

Three years later I knew I needed a change and a recruitment agent asked me to go for an interview at Monahans, I went to the first interview not really thinking this was the place for me as I didn’t want big and corporate, I came away desperate for the job. I saw what a great firm they are to work for and how they really care about their people and their clients. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous as I was at my second interview.

I started as a Business Services manager a month later working with the Swindon team of Associates to help develop their skills not only in preparing accounts but also as great accountants. A few years later I moved into a role solely looking after clients and have worked my way up to Director where I look after a team of Assistant Client Portfolio Managers. I love my job and the mix of client work and team development is a perfect role for me as a people person and an accountant.

Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
I have learnt a lot from people throughout my career, but the biggest impact has been made by my current line manager who is a partner at Monahans. He has been supportive and has always been there when I needed help or advice. He has seen me through my mistakes without judgement and picked me up when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. He has listened, sent chocolate and made me think for myself. He has understood my passion to make things better and gently directed this to ensure I stay on track. He has taught me how by guiding and supporting someone they will give you their best out of respect and dedication.

What do you wish you’d known about yourself when you were starting your career?
I am naturally an extrovert and am passionate and fiery, but I am learning to stand tall in a world where everyone is different. I wish I had known when starting my career how to use the skills I have in order to influence situations instead of trying to attack things head on. I also wish I had been proud of my achievements instead of worrying that I was never good enough.

What advice would you give to someone who is in the early stages of their career?
Talk to people and ask them questions, everyone has something to teach you and people love talking about themselves and they will happily help you on your path. I would also say for everyone to find the reason why you do what you do. I want to be a better person today than I was yesterday through knowledge and helping others, find your reason why and strive for it in everything you do. Also never stay in a job you hate as life is too short and you will only ever regret the things you didn’t do.

Clare Bowen