BW Legal Celebrates Women in Business – Samantha Thackrah

To mark International Women’s Day we continue to celebrate women in business by running a series of articles championing highly successful women at BW Legal.

In this latest article, Samantha Thackrah talks about how she got to where she is today and advice that has stayed with her throughout her career.

Tell us about you and your role at BW Legal

As the Financial Controller, I am responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the Finance Department. My department is split into three teams: Management Accounts, Billing and Cashiers.

I would describe myself as highly adaptable, always willing to learn new skills and pride myself on being self-sufficient.

How did you get to where you are today and who helped you along the way?

I started my career, fresh from college as the Office Junior for a small computer consultancy firm in Leeds.

I’ve always loved numbers and studied Maths at A Level, so it didn’t take long for the owner of the business to recognise my talent and give me the company accounts to process.  It was a very thorough grounding in all aspects of accounts and I will always be grateful to him for giving me that initial opportunity.

I remained there for a few years, before working at a couple of larger companies which gave me the chance to work my way up through all the different roles of the Finance department to Management Accountant and then Financial Controller.  I began my professional training with CIMA during this time and became a fully qualified Accountant 11 years ago.

I feel confident that by starting at the bottom and gradually working my way up that I have gained a full understanding of how a Finance Department runs.

What advice has stayed with you throughout your career?

Always keep notes and be prepared and treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.

Is there anything you still struggle with and how do you overcome it?

I have a memory like a sieve! So I always make sure that I write everything down.

What have you learned about the importance of leadership and getting the best out of others?

I believe that the most important part of leadership is listening to your team.  Whilst I may not always agree with their opinions, it’s important for everyone to be heard.

I have faith in my team to carry out their job to the best of their abilities and it’s important to me to ensure that all my staff have the necessary training to develop and achieve their potential.

I want all of my team to be happy at work, as we spend so much time together and our office is very small.

How do you achieve a good work life balance?

Planning and organisation is the key for me.  I compartmentalise my life so that I am 100% focussed on the task at hand, whether that is work or my personal life. My daughter is still very young (20 months) so it’s important to me that I spend quality time with her every day and I always plan my time to make sure this happens.

What advice would you give to women wanting to achieve more in their career?

The same advice that I’d give to a man!  Work hard and be prepared to invest in your future.

The job market is very competitive, so it’s important to have the right qualifications and also gain relevant experience along the way. Be prepared to put in the effort and treat every day as an opportunity to learn.

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