Welcome to The Secret Lives of Accountants, where we reveal the always fascinating, often surprising, hidden passions of the profession’s finest! This week: Closet blogger (and Damn Good Accountant, according to our clients), Anthea Noonan Wade.
So Anthea, tell us a bit about your accounting career so far...
My career has been the gateway to some wonderful experiences, including time contracting in the UK. It's allowed me to have exposure to a huge range of companies in media, pharma, film, manufacturing and retail, to name a few.
When I returned from the UK in the mid-90’s I undertook contracts at Auckland City Council working on the draft annual plan, New Zealand Forest Industries Council and Human Rights Commission. In recent years I’ve been fortunate enough to start up a NZ tax department and a NZ branch office for a trans-Tasman multi-media company. I’ve also project-managed the implementation of a different style of Finance department, and acted as Change Manager on a Business Intelligence software project.
I feel really fortunate to have such a varied and interesting career.
Now to the fun part: your secret passion is?
Blogging. By nature I’m a private person, but I recently took the plunge and set up a blog (artfulcompendium.com), which I like to describe as a treasure trove of words, photos & special moments.
The travel sections have been cool projects, particularly blogging about my recent adventures on the Camino Way and around France.
I also write poetry and showcase it on my blog. Now that I’m back home in New Zealand I’ve been chipping away on some new projects, one of which I launched this week (a new section called New Zealand Stories).
Is it difficult to strike a balance between contracting and your writing and travelling?
In recent years, one of my long-term contracts led into three years as an employee. My role involved a lot of travel around Australia and New Zealand. I don’t really consider short-haul business trips as real travel, but I was very lucky to have family in Sydney, which meant I could incorporate weekend breaks into some of my business travel.
This year having re-established my contracting career, I undertook my first long-haul holiday in seven years. Contracting is a great way for me to achieve the flexibility in my career necessary for accommodating longer stints of travelling.
I find the creative process of writing is a great counter-balance to the stresses of work. Collecting ideas and characters and weaving them into stories revitalises me. Creativity, combined with exercise, has given me the balance in my life that's crucial to success in my contracting business.
Any tips for someone looking to launch a blog?
Blogging is a new world for me and I’m constantly surprised by the professional bloggers who have connected with my site. The one thing they all have in common is their blog appears to be an extension of themselves. They’re passionate, post regularly and have their own aesthetic. I believe it’s this uniqueness that draws in readers.
I researched all the tips and tricks before starting my blog and the two I adhered to were: Don’t do it for money, and when you write, tailor it for someone you have in mind who you think will read your blog.
Is there anything that writing or travelling has taught you about how to be a better accountant?
Travelling - especially if you're a solo female - requires been mindful, paying attention to details and knowing how to read a person. The editing process of writing teaches you how to strip back words to produce prose that conveys your meaning cleanly. These are all qualities that I aim to incorporate in my way of working.
What's the most memorable place you've visited lately, and where's next on the itinerary?
As much as I love Paris, my memory of my recent trip is still dominated by my time at my friend’s stonewalled house in rural France - looking out across rolling hills, laden fig trees in the foreground and the ever-changing Pyrenees mountain range as the backdrop.
The next place I’d love to visit is the Pyrenees. There's a mountain walk I didn’t succeed in completing, but I have a yearning desire to do so.
Finally, what are you reading right now?
Two books on the go at the moment…Thrive by Arianna Hufffington and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
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