Member spotlight: Steph Merill ACA
I must give a lot of credit to the Newby Castleman team for the training and support they gave me over the years. I was there for seven years and although I left before qualifying, I was taught a really good work ethic and the grounding that has helped me get to where I am today.’
From a young age Steph knew that accountancy was the only career for her and at the age of 16 was offered a position with Newby Castleman in Leicester. This experience provided a brilliant foundation for her career. After researching into AAT and learning that she was eligible for a modern apprenticeship, Steph successfully applied and obtained the qualification relatively quickly and went on to study for the ACA exams. Steph comments, ‘I didn’t find ACA exams easy as it was a particularly stressful time in my life but through sheer determination I qualified in 2011 and worked in practice for 13 years before making the leap into industry. I became Financial Controller for a corporate hospitality company and learnt many new skills and almost became a TOMS VAT specialist along the way!’
The business grew rapidly but Steph found herself working incredibly long hours which wasn’t sustainable and made a brave decision to start her own company, SAS, as a sole practitioner and has never looked back. Steph says, ‘The one thing that has been incredible is the support from other business owners. Everyone I’ve met at a networking event has been so eager to help me in any way they can even to say if I have any questions just to pick the phone up to them. The support that is out there is fantastic and really gave me a boost.’
Steph focuses her time on giving business owners their time back so they can work on their business utilising their own skills and delivering the key information a business owner needs. This is typically the information that keeps them awake at night such as their cash flow and cash flow forecasting when things might get a little tight for them. Steph is also passionate about showing others how they can get out of debt.
‘I just want people to know that there is a way out of debt - it took me five years and sheer determination. There is help out there and there is also CABA who can help ICAEW members get back on their feet. Debt can be a lonely place as you can’t afford to socialise and don’t want to talk about your situation because you feel ashamed, but don’t bury your head in the sand would be my advice. I would be more than happy to talk to anyone that would like to chat about any of my experiences – career or debt related - so please feel free to DM me or drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org Any chat would be in total confidence-that is a given’.