A month into her new job and Catherine Bennett faced redundancy as the company went into liquidation but rather than give in to employment worries she grabbed the opportunity with both hands to set-up in business.
“I have always wanted to have my own business and this desire prompted me to study management science at university and later become a chartered accountant so when the firm of accountants I had just begun working for closed I knew becoming my own boss was the right thing to do”, she said.
So, in July 2011, Catherine set out on her business journey as a chartered accountant offering accounting solutions for limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, corporation tax, self assessment, payroll, VAT, book keeping, management accounts and general tax advice.
She believes her one-to-one business approach will set her apart in a highly regulated field and said: “I want clients to feel they can call anytime to ask the silly questions without feeling they will be charged by the minute.”
Fitting work around her children has also been a great motivator for Catherine as with two young children much of her time is spent around her their activities and for her the main advantage for being a sole trader is the flexibility and freedom to spend time with her children while they are young, but she joked, “I do look forward to travelling and good restaurant food one day soon though.”
She has also been making the most of the benefits of her Cornwall Enterprising Women membership by connecting to other members, utilising its online resources for business advice and taking part in networking events.
“I am really enjoying the challenge and having the control to do what I have previously done for others for myself, my way. Setting up the business from scratch has meant I have to be more than just an accountant for a change, I get to do other roles such as marketing, admin and IT. It is really interesting and I like the challenge but the loss of earnings and the security of a regular paid income has been a bit scary but being part of Cornwall Enterprising Women will give me a chance to network to get my new business out there and link with others in a similar position.”
Catherine started her training in London and during her studies won the Chris Reay Memorial Prize, a prize for the student achieving the highest average in the professional stage examinations for small firms in the London area, and which she describes as “one of the proudest moments of my life after the birth of my two children”.
Now, as well as trying to run her business as greenly as possible by, for example, using paper which has been recycled from the paper she recycles she is also aiming high and plans to provide full-time hours for herself within two years when her children go to school and expand to employ and train a workforce within five years.
Describing herself as “dedicated, reliable, and honest but with a weakness for chocolate” Catherine intends to fulfill two more of her favourite things, a thirst for knowledge and meeting new people by taking an active part in Cornwall Enterprising Women and grabbing the opportunity to shout about her services, receive peer support and online business advice that will help her run a successful and growing business.
She added: “I really love what I do, enjoy meeting all the different people and love to think I can help people succeed in their business ventures too.”