Why working in finance is about more than just the numbers - Victoria Hicks
I always head straight for my son, Alex’s, room, as he likes to enjoy some time with me and my husband before he goes to school. Alex spends most weekday evenings at after-school clubs or with relatives, so this family time is really important to us.
While the boys eat breakfast – as much as I’ve tried, I’m not a morning eater – I check my emails and reply to those that have accumulated from the night before, that I can quickly action, or factor in some time to respond later.
I make myself a smoothie to have during the school run, and usually spend my time in the car catching up with friends and family – who are early birds, like me – or enjoying some time to myself, before the working day begins.
I make it to the office for 9.15am – which means I’m lucky enough to miss the bulk of the heavy rush hour traffic.
Before we knuckle down, I catch up with the team – mostly regarding what we did, or watched on TV last night – while making myself a coffee. I like to get the chatter out of the way first thing, so we can crack on afterwards.
We’ve spent a lot of time on in-house development recently, and today the acquisitions team are tackling another training session. This is the department where we’re noticing the fastest growth and I believe it’s important to represent firms looking to grow or exit, as if we are an extension of their business, so this is a big focus area for us.
My background as a chartered financial planner and company owner, allows me to work closely with my colleagues, sharing first-hand experience of the financial advisory industry to drive our own success.
It’s fantastic that my colleagues are so eager to learn. We’re keen to build a team which understands and respects the challenges within the sector in order to make the most appropriate introductions and protect our clients’ valuable time.
I make it one of my priorities to keep up to date on any legislative changes in the marketplace, so this is next on my plan. I receive bulletins from the FCA and regularly check the website for anything we need to be aware of.
This takes up most of my morning and by lunchtime I’m ready for a break, in order to reset ahead of the afternoon.
I try to take some time away from my desk – and have a breather from emails and anything client-related. I admire people who can work flat out throughout the day, but I’m most productive when I take a moment to enjoy some time to myself and grab a bite to eat.
I have a client meeting in the early afternoon, so I head out of the office for a couple of hours. Businesses trust us to assist with growth and succession plans, and as such, we really need to understand each firm’s nuances – including its culture and goals – to be able to provide tailored support. I believe the best way to do really get under a client’s skin, is by visiting their office.
Before I know it, the meeting is over and I get back in the car and return to the office. I have a final sit down booked in with a couple of my colleagues before we head off for the day, to discuss any new clients, review ongoing work and establish any further training and development needs.
I like to speak with everyone individually. We often partake in group training, but I know people have their own unique needs too – and I want to know what they’d like to focus on.
I have a couple of minutes to clear my inbox – before it gets full again by the morning – and one email in particular catches my eye. It’s from a long-standing client, praising the team for their efforts.
Before leaving for the day we clear our desks – a tidy workspace is a tidy mind – and I reflect on my to-do list for tomorrow. We have a new client meeting in the morning, so I ensure travel plans are in order and produce any required materials.
By 7pm, I’m back where it all started – at home. An empty washing machine is my favourite thing to come home to – and today’s my lucky day.
I get into my comfy clothes, put on some music and settle in for some time with Alex and my husband Stuart, before we put him to bed.
After that, we wind down with dinner, puzzles, and some TV – Only Connect and Line of Duty are our current favourites.
Victoria Hicks is newly appointed director at Leeds-headquartered financial consultancy company, The City & Capital Group.