Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: A Female Perspective in Accounting (Part 2)

November 20, 2023 Aly & Andrew Season 5 Episode 42
Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures
Breaking the Glass Ceiling: A Female Perspective in Accounting (Part 2)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

G'day and welcome to Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures.

In part 2 of this epic topic, Aly, the heroine of her own accounting tale 😆, continues to share her journey which is filled with laughter, triumphs, and some not-so-subtle eye rolls at the male-dominated accounting world. With over 30 years of fearless navigation, Aly shares her secrets to success, balancing work and motherhood like a pro.

While they touch on the prickly issues of gender inequality, Aly's story is a beacon of hope. They have a candid chat about strategic career moves, the importance of self-advocacy, and why it's essential to empower the next generation of female accountants. Get ready for a dose of inspiration, some reality checks, and a hearty laugh or two.

Yes, we address the less glamorous side too – toxic work environments and female representation. But fear not, we've got solutions up our sleeves. Mentors, education, and early career guidance take the spotlight. Allies, you're called to action! Let's create an inclusive and supportive space for everyone.

Whether you're in the accounting world or just curious about gender dynamics at work, this episode is your backstage pass to the highs and lows, sprinkled with Aly's and Andrew's wisdom and a touch of humour. So buckle up for their next accounting adventure! 

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MUSIC
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PRODUCTION
David Easton (@davidjeasty) | Instagram

Speaker 1:

Are you going to give any? No, that's okay, we don't need to, because the background noise is gone. I'm talking.

Speaker 2:

There's lots of background noise. Dave, you can keep this and chuck it at the start.

Speaker 1:

No, yeah, do it.

Speaker 2:

No, no, don't For those, for those if this does get on the podcast, which you'll be happy. If you're wondering, we are recording live at a particular venue right now which you might hear on one of our upcoming podcasts soon. So if you get a bit of background vibes, that's because there's background vibes. What means? There's vibes happening.

Speaker 1:

I know that means we're also in person, which is exciting.

Speaker 2:

Does Now Allie? I got a question for you. Yeah, absolutely how many female accounting leaders does it take to advise a growing business on an advisory board Like how many? How many females does it take to sign off on a budget at a mid-tier accounting firm?

Speaker 1:

How many it's like? How many males does it take to change a light bulb?

Speaker 2:

It's a bit like that Do I throw out a number? If you want, give it a guess.

Speaker 1:

One.

Speaker 2:

Well, maybe I was going to say it's more like well, probably more than the one, that is the only one that's actually been allowed into that position and who has been given the opportunity.

Speaker 1:

I love it. I love it. Yeah About right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because they haven't been given the opportunities what I'm trying to say yeah, I'm with you, I'm with you. And the joke, the purpose of the joke is this is like, I guess, version two, episode two, season two part two of your 30-year journey as a female in the accounting industry.

Speaker 1:

Because you loved the first one so much.

Speaker 2:

It broke me.

Speaker 1:

That you needed to go for a second round. You didn't have enough time to put all the questions out into the peripheral.

Speaker 2:

Honestly, the number of things that my brain was going through. At the point in time where you were kind of sharing some of your experience, I was like oh what.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was back and I got world deep, I actually had a bit of a cry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I had a few good people who reached out and was like hey, that hit home a bit too close, but in a good way in a good way.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, that's why I share the stories. Thank you, appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

No worries, shall we hit the theme music, we'll go to the theme music, and then we'll come back in a second. Yeah, beautiful.

Speaker 1:

Let's go.

Speaker 2:

So Ellie, part two of a video story of being a female in the accounting industry.

Speaker 1:

I could do this like a trilogy. We could keep just rolling this thing out.

Speaker 2:

I've got so much more in the tank, but yes, I feel like a large portion of the first one was really focused on having a child and the impact of a woman who has a child and, as a result, can I?

Speaker 1:

say that that's most probably because it's so polarizing.

Speaker 2:

It is so polarizing.

Speaker 1:

And it's something I don't even want to call it an issue. It's a matter that happens a lot and I don't think we've nailed down the right approach, but anyway.

Speaker 2:

I don't think we ever will. Yeah, but we talked a lot about, effectively, the environment where you know female accountants who go and have children and might struggle for what their future looks like, comparative to their male counterparts, for very different reasons. I asked them much questions and I was probing and I think we also had a bit of balance. There too is like there is a bit of. We have to understand that, like owners of a business that hire someone to work there for the next number of years and then they're not there for a bit, they have to make decisions to fill those gaps in those four weeks, which is great. But I don't want to talk on that today. What I'd love to talk about and what I'd love to focus on is I guess, like you're, as a female in the accounting industry and through your experience and through your exposure and supporting other women in our industry, you've found yourself in a certain position where you want to deliver accounting services, advisory services and business services to your clients in a way that you might have learnt because of your female intuition. Is that even a thing?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think definitely leaning into my female side.

Speaker 2:

But also because of the experience you've had going through with potentially having to, you know, navigate obstacles and deal with kind of challenges along the way. So what I'd love to unpack, I guess, is a little bit like where you sit today as a result of that experience and can you talk to me about some of the things you do that you might be doing differently because of those experiences?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I can tell you that I've had to be way more strategic and go into what I call a realm of conscious choices. I'm sorry, I guess, at every hurdle that I had in my career about wanting to step forward or being promoted. If that hadn't happened and I'd kind of gone through the business case and worked with the current people and it just wasn't going to happen. I then had to strategically make a move and I had to be really bold and brave and strong and I guess a lot of people have to do that if they kind of. You are very strong. Thank you. I've actually got a shirt on that says Strong smart, brave, strong, smart and brave because that's how I feel.

Speaker 2:

I've got one that says palace, because my body's a palace A palace of what? Hey, don't you, body shame me. Thank you, don't you, body shame me.

Speaker 1:

Body shame. So, yeah, it's. For me, it was around making these really strategic choices. Like when I left my first workplace I went to an employer of choice for women because I knew and especially when I'd started with them, I had this huge talk with them about I still want to progress my career but I do want to have another baby. So I had to be really, really clear, communicate really really clearly into a lot of GD elegance around where was the right place to fit. And so I moved there, made sure that I had, like my performance development plan in place and that we were hitting targets and making them accountable, making me accountable. Very, very strategic move there. And then when I realized, oh hey, big four is most probably not the right fit for my client base, what else can I do? Because at that time I was a single parent, I was divorced, I needed a bit of a risk insurance policy. I knew that I couldn't go out of my own, so I did about six months of due diligence. I had three contenders of where am I going to go. I basically locked them into a locked and loaded contract. That was just schmicko, Like such a classic alley movement. It's such a classic, but I needed to do that to protect myself, to make sure that I was going to be moving forward, to make sure that what I could deliver they could also deliver on their side, which ultimately led me to moving into all in because they couldn't deliver. It was very, very clear that they couldn't deliver.

Speaker 2:

The hope was there, the plan was there, the idea was there, but the execution just didn't exist.

Speaker 1:

And that's why I was able to live on such great terms, because I was very clear throughout that whole process, through that six months of due diligence before coming on board, that that's what was going to happen and that every time we caught up it was around. This is what we originally agreed where are we at, where are you at? Where am I at? Where are we going to go? And so that when we got to all in, I knew exactly what I wanted to be and exactly what I didn't want to be, because I'd had to build all of these contracts, due diligence strategy for every single move that I made, because nobody ever offered me something nobody ever said oh hey, al, you're ready for partnership. Oh hey, al, you're ready for directorship. Oh hey, al, you're ready for management. Nobody ever said that to me. It was me having to advocate for myself, and that is something that I'm not sure if other women have experienced, but certainly to me that was something that I experienced.

Speaker 2:

And I can see that in the way that you I mean service your client base as well like you are. You have quite a structured strategic process and there's almost a bit of like, a, like a. There's a black and white element that sits in some of this. You either do it or you don't. You have to make up your mind, you have to commit to that. Like you like. Whilst you're a loving, caring and soft person, you're also a no bullshit, no fluff kind of person too. Absolutely In or out, it's all in, like, like. What are you doing?

Speaker 1:

right, it's the, it's the balancing act right. So I used to be just all strategy, all business, all no emotion. And when I moved to this employer of choice, I understood that I could layer my feminine side across the no BS side, and so I do a bit of a tag team, but I deliver kindness, empathy, understanding, but to a point and then I make you accountable. So I'm, and also when I onboard clients, I'm very clear about what we can and cannot deliver and what their responsibilities in the relationship also, so that if it's not working I do break up with clients, or if it is working, they know why it's working. So it has absolutely helped me to get to where I am today. But I've noticed, you know, when I looked back at other career, you know other people that I'd worked with in their career paths. They kind of fell into their positions, that were offered their positions, whereas for me I never, I never had that opportunity. I was never just gifted a position. I had to work hard and be really strategic about it. And that's what I would say to other women work out what your goal is, don't just, you know, flitter, flatter around, don't just go. I'll stay here and they'll do the right thing by me. No, I actually think you need to be way more strategic and you need to advocate for yourself.

Speaker 2:

I mean you can definitely, definitely stay there and they might do the right thing by you, but you still have to bust your arse and create the environment and ensure like and and not not to just like, move away from like what we're talking in a female environment, but that's advice for anyone, absolutely. Like if you, if you think you're just going to sit there and like it'll come to you, like you got you got it, something else coming to you.

Speaker 1:

Well, that somebody will say something that you want them to say.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like and that might happen, and we've got some wonderful stories there that people share of like oh I work for this person now. We're just the best boss and they gave me all the opportunity, but like.

Speaker 1:

I honestly believe that exception rather than the rules.

Speaker 2:

They are because because business owners, managers, leaders are busy people and so they get fleeting moments with you.

Speaker 1:

I tell my team all the time. Don't assume I know something. Don't assume that something is so overtly obvious to you that I'm going to all of a sudden get it. I'm reading a different read of the room. I'm focusing on different things, like and this is where I'm saying advocate for yourself and this is for everybody. Absolutely, you need to advocate for yourself or have somebody advocate for you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's. It's really interesting because I think that like it's, it's funny, a lot of what you're saying from what you've learned through your experiences as women in the industry and where you find yourself now, like that that advice is just, it's so across the board, like for some, sometimes we just try to pigeonhole, say, I know women better advocate for themselves because that's like no, no, like yes, this is bigger and more important because of the environment. But this is this is lessons we can all learn from and go. Well, there's some great perspective and learnings there.

Speaker 1:

When you're looking at, I guess, the makeup and the psyche and the psychology of women versus men. Women tend to not advocate for themselves, which is why I so strongly push for that for women. Yep, so and I think I might have mentioned this you know and there's lots of statistics around this that you know a man and a woman can have exactly the same experience, same tenure, and there'll be a job position. The guy will say, oh, I know 70% of it, I'll go in for it. The woman will say, no, no, I'll hold back. Maybe in a year or two, when I've actually done everything can, I can deliver, then that's when I'll do it. So that's what I mean by this advocacy like you've got to back yourself. You have to. You have to believe in yourself. You've got to have some grit and determination to say, nana, I can do that.

Speaker 2:

So how do we build that up in in people? How do we, how do we create that in in the female accounting industry? Because, like I spent some time recently with someone we were talking about a whole bunch of stuff and they're they're in a relatively large industry-based organization and, like I think their statistics was, it was something like 60 odd percent, or maybe even higher, of new entrants into the accounting industry are women, but that percentage drops off dramatically over time and there's some very valid and good reasons why you know they might have decided to do this or that or change careers or they started a family and went you know what actually I want to do, the like the mum thing. And then there are other reasons where they might have dropped off because they had really crappy experiences.

Speaker 1:

I've got some really defined reasons. I believe that all things that we can do to help Please. One of them is education. Education from the moment somebody enters or decides to be an accountant. So from uni and forward, so mentoring education. So me sitting with another woman that's just about to enter the industry and saying these are the things that you may may see, these are the things that will help you. You know, it's about that mentorship, it's about teaching them, helping them on the journey, helping them to step up. So I think, definitely the education, mentoring, training has a huge part to play. And giving them a career journey, a career map very early on. And the way that I do it with my team is I kind of assess, you know, I'll work with them for a few months and I'll see where their superhero powers are when they're kryptonite is, and I'll help to guide them through that process and I'll empower them and give them a lot of positive reinforcement, a lot of positive feedback, and then I actually see that really start to build in them and then they can kind of take it and fly. But it does take somebody, I think, very early on in the career at some point in their career.

Speaker 2:

It's like an interpreter, almost like I. I spent a bit of time doing some marketing branding things for another thing over inside the old plumbing shop and one of the things we were working on was like when you say this, this is what you actually mean, so how do we say it so people actually know what you're saying and what you mean? And it's almost like, how do we interpret what's being said? So it's so for, like young women entering the industry, when someone says this, they don't necessarily mean this. They might have all the best intentions to, but they forget about and get busy. So how do you ensure that, when you're hearing those words or those phrases, that first you understand what that actually means? But secondly, what can you do to ensure the likelihood of that being truth?

Speaker 1:

is is more there, and so and I think it's that like just being aware of this in the workplace, say something yes, say something.

Speaker 2:

Sitting around a boardroom table and this is said that's what you can do. That's not an okay thing.

Speaker 1:

This is how you can approach it and it is about saying well, this is okay and this is not okay. It's about saying this is the stuff that you're gonna need to advocate for yourself for and this is the stuff that you can just let lie it's actually giving them the education rather than finding them out for themselves. Yeah, and that happens in a lot of scenarios and the most horrible one is I guess you know if you're in a domestic violence situation right what are the triggers? what are the? What are the things? Oh, this is, this is the right, this is, this is not okay so it's about telling somebody this is okay. This is not okay, because when you land in an organization you've known nothing, nothing else. It's kind of like when you grow up in a family. You don't realize they're a bit left of center or a bit eccentric, until you go out to the big wide world you're like well yeah, hold on. A second turns out well, that isn't normal right and so I my fear is that people are going, or women are going, into these firms, not understanding and thinking it's just because that's what I had for 13 years what creates the stereotype that they they're potentially buying into, as opposed to saying well, look that there might be some people out there like that, but they shouldn't be.

Speaker 2:

So just because that's a thing that's happened doesn't mean it's an okay thing for it to happen.

Speaker 1:

This is.

Speaker 2:

This is the fair playing ground and then how do we then help them? You, whoever want to put into that sentence like be more empowered, feel more comfortable and understand how they can approach that situation away.

Speaker 1:

That is helpful not hurtful yeah and this is the advocating for other people, helping them to step up, it's about mentoring. It's about education at every level.

Speaker 2:

It's about building toolkits do you think, because I I've spent a bit of time with some people working through some challenges they're facing. Oh, you know, these persons are that person like. Well, firstly, and when I this is what I'd say to them is like do you believe that they're doing it with intent? Are they intentionally doing the thing? okay so if they're not intentionally doing it, so that's unintentional. If it's unintentional, do you think that they're aware that they're doing the thing? Or if they're not aware, okay, cool. So if they're not aware and it's not, you don't believe it's intentional then that's an opportunity for you to step into that leader of that person, say, hey, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, or can I just check in? Are you okay? Because the way you're behaving is something that's actually not helpful. It's hurtful. That's easier said than done. That's easier said.

Speaker 1:

It's like oh you know, just go talk to that 50 year old greyhead man and say, the way you said, that we're talking about only work in an environment where there is safety and where there is openness and transparency, right, and the other part of the conversation is, if that's not the environment you're in, get out and get into something that is and that's you know.

Speaker 2:

You need to work out how to get out of a toxic environment so that you can move forward and that's that's a good question I want to ask you, then so you've had some challenging jobs in the past, you've had some great jobs in the past how does one get out of a toxic job?

Speaker 1:

and that's where the being brave, it's being strategic, it's looking at okay, well, it's not going to work here. I need to find another opportunity for myself, yeah, and actually doing research, going out, connecting with people and being brave enough to leap the but in the leap, making sure that what you're leaping for is the right thing and that you're communicating very clearly and being very open and transparent there'll be someone that's listening to this podcast and I've spent some time with them recently and they'll be hearing what you're saying and what I'm saying, and they'll recognize that I'm saying this now back to them very specifically is that I've had this very conversation with them.

Speaker 2:

So if you're listening to this, this is that that brave way this is that going? I have to make this decision because it's the right decision, but I have to be prepared and plan for it. I can't just pull the handbrake on, jump out and go let's see what the fuck happens, because that could be bad for you but it could also be bad for them and it creates really bad environment. So how do you do that? You know?

Speaker 1:

yeah, and I remember with my first leap because that was obviously the most scary I'd been contacted, miss my happen quite a bit in the industry. I'd been contacted by this big four because I topped the state in my CA studies and a year or two beforehand, and I said no, no, no, everything's gray, I'm super happy. And when everything came to light and I realized that it was the toxic environment, I was just blind, like ignorantly bliss to the situation.

Speaker 3:

I then made contact with them, because I'd done research on in the way of two women and all the things that came with that, and so I had to then reach out.

Speaker 1:

So there was a warm connection there. But in that scenario, if you don't have that, go to the Institute, go to people around you, go to your Facebook community, go to people that are in the community, in the industry, and ask for their help. What should I do here? Who do you know research? Who you might want to work with? hmm, like you've actually not just wait for the next you know somebody to offer you the opportunity. You go out and you make that happen yourself. But you do have to be brave and it's kind of a like a well, screw it.

Speaker 2:

Like it can't be any worse, right so I guess it's what's the worst could happen. Well, currently the worst is happening, so I guess it's gonna be staying in a toxic domestic violence relationship.

Speaker 1:

I'm just gonna stay because this is all I know. But that's not the right answer and that's where things get really scary, and sometimes it's just telling somebody close to you this is what I want to do, this is what's happening, and for them to help you get there we're gonna.

Speaker 2:

We're gonna pause, we're gonna go some sponsor promos. We have a listen to the amazing people who support us. We're gonna come back and we were coming back. I want you to answer the question from the different perspective of if I'm the person that someone has come to for help in this situation. If a female accountant, a young female and all but it doesn't matter what age they are, but for female comes, come and said I feel like I'm in a work environment that doesn't respect me because I'm a female, or I'm not getting opportunities because I'm a female, what can the person that that is being contacted for support do? So I'm gonna pause and think about that and we'll come back in a sec.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

You know, when you find a piece of software that just happens to do a lot more than you expected it to do, and then as you delve deeper and deeper and deeper into it, you realise, holy moly, there is so much that I can do here. Well, good friends of the podcast, patron are one of those pieces of technology that I am constantly amazed by whenever we spend time within there. They can do a whole bunch of stuff like data capturing and pre-accounting, ap automation, approval workflows, fx and multi-currency business accounts, corporate cards and expenses, group batch and partial payments, payroll reimbursements, payroll payments and a whole bunch of other incredible stuff all within the one platform. Now, patron does connect to all of the great accounting software out there and builds a whole bunch of finance automation to ensure that you are efficiently managing your cash flow, your spend and your expenses, as well as having transparency and approval processes in place. So the right things happen at the right time. So when you go, check them out, patron, p-a-y-t-r-o-n dot com.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

All right, ellie, we have had a listen to some of our amazing sponsors that have said some great things.

Speaker 1:

I am really amazing.

Speaker 2:

Back to amazing you. Yes amazing me. Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2:

You are amazing, so let's assume that I am Andrew. Hello, I will play me. Let's you go back, I don't know, 60, 70 years ago, when you were like 25 or so. So you were in that young female account and you are an environment and you are starting to realise, or you have realised, oh, this place ain't so great I thought it was, but it's not. I need to make some decisions. And you come to me and you say hey, andrew, for whatever reason, I have reached out to you and I would like some support or some assistance and guidance. What can I, as the person that has been reached out, to do here?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well listen, what was that? Sorry, it wasn't listening, listen, yep, don't jump in with, I think, all the solutions right, like I think it's really important to actually give that person space to download, because you are going to get a lot of stuff from that. And then I would actually take more of a mentorship role around trying to map out their career journey, where they have come from, where they are now, where they want to be, and helping to map out for them maybe the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years, because what happens in those scenarios is they are just looking to get out, they are just going to take anything that comes their way, but what they want to do is actually make it the next step up. So it's about setting out their career plan for maybe the next 5 years and looking for that job step up for that next 5 rather than that next 1.

Speaker 2:

Yep and then-. So we are really looking future here. We are looking future based. We are saying cool, so you realise that this isn't great. Let's define what great looks like in 10 years time for you. And you are then saying well, what's the gap then? What's? The gap. So if you want to be there in 10 or 15, if you want to run your own firmware, be in a big 4, be in an industry or be in a small, whatever that looks like. What do you need to do to get there?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and there might be a couple of steps. Yep, there might be a couple of gaps right that you need to kind of fill, and that's then when you get to that point of okay, well, I know what that next step is. So you've got your 5 years, but then I know what that next 1 year looks like, actually helping to map that out. So I've got a lot of experience in the industry. I know a lot of different employers. I'm going to recommend a group that they will look into and talk to other people in their network. If they are doing a CA, it might be that they can go and talk to other people that they know in that space who are? working for that employer, or doing a lot of research online, looking at reviews, all those different types of things. Wow, there's a lot of noise going on.

Speaker 2:

There is so much noise happening in the background right now.

Speaker 1:

So I think it's about helping them to do, to pointing them in the right direction and helping them to get that. Look, there's some towels.

Speaker 2:

We're in a hotel recording and some bloke's got something dragging. It's like they've got the brakes on the wheels. Still, he has an unop the brakes, so I apologize.

Speaker 1:

It's towels for the pool, yeah, so I think that they need to. You need to help them with a bit of research and development.

Speaker 2:

Is there anything that we need to do or that we should do or we could do in that initial like, I am a female and I believe I am not being treated the same because of that?

Speaker 1:

Or you can do a speech. So is it just listen Like what can you do? You can't take it back.

Speaker 2:

Andrew, sometimes I want to go like beat the shit out of people. That's kind of what I want to do, I know, but that's such a bloke thing to do, I know, and sometimes there is nothing that you can do.

Speaker 1:

You need to accept it. You need to accept it but say, okay, I accept it, but I'm going to use that as a superhero power to push me and propel me forward, which is what I've done. So every time something unfair is happening in my career, I haven't gone as well as me, I've gone. Okay, it happened. I can't change it, but I can learn from it and I can take that as an opportunity. And I don't think women in this scenario looking for the answer and they're not asking you to make it better. You can't make the path better, but you can help them to take that next step forward.

Speaker 2:

How come they don't understand what the put you? So does not worry about looking backwards, let's look forward.

Speaker 1:

So if it's shit, right now.

Speaker 2:

Let's look ahead where it could be good, rather than look back at the shit, right?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, it's done.

Speaker 2:

So now all you can do is look forward.

Speaker 1:

So you can help to mentor them, you can help to provide education, you can help to provide information, research, knowledge, you can help with connections. Those things are enough to push them forward so that in a year or two or three or four or five, when they're going great guns and when they're with a great employer, they'll come back to you and they'll say thank you so much. Awesome, I learned so much. That's all you need.

Speaker 2:

That's great. Well, I'm hoping that anybody else out there listening who might be in a position that people reach out to the support. That's some really good like. I love the way you've got that perspective. There's nothing you can do about the past, but like, let's worry about what you want to be and let's put things in place to get you there, and if that means changing the environment, then that changes the environment. But don't just do it as a knee-jerk reaction. Don't knee-jerk it.

Speaker 1:

Do this with thought and some process behind it, because if you knee-jerk it, you'll be in the same place, yep. And if you don't recognise some of the behaviours, some of the triggers that got you to some of those places, and some of the things that you're willing to accept and some of the things that you're willing to walk past, that's all education, like you need to get that solid foundation.

Speaker 2:

And the number of times I see people that and I've spent time with them with that they knee-jerk reactions. They keep having the same experience because they're not taking enough time to think about it. And then they'll come back to you and say I think you said, and I didn't know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Speaker 3:

That's when all the excuses come up and then they say, yeah, but it's not actually right.

Speaker 1:

But you know, last time you gave me that piece of advice and it didn't work. Yeah, because you didn't take the time to do your research and development. It didn't take the time to do all your reviews and your due diligence. You didn't take the time to work out exactly where you were going to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, All right. Next question for you yeah, and you've said this phrase a number of times today and previously on other episodes an employer of choice for females. The fuck is that. What does that actually mean? What does that actually entail? Even if it's in today's environment? Let's look at it right now and feel free to reflect on the past. But what would you believe an employer of choice for females looks like? And then I'm going to throw out a. Should that even be a thing?

Speaker 1:

It was a thing back when I went to about 13, 14, 15 years ago, because it was most probably necessary. Is it a thing today? No, because I think it should cover both. So it's around affording flexibility. So it's around providing opportunities for everybody, the same opportunities, removing the unconscious or subconscious bias that might be around so saying, oh well, women are good at this and men are good at that. You need to remove that. And yeah, it's about saying that as many women can sit around this table as men and actually evidencing that, showing that Not tokenism, but making sure that you've got the right people sitting at the right table and that you're not just trying to get, like my copies of yourself, like copies scan and copies, because you're really looking there like there's a bunch of stuff, but I mean that last bit.

Speaker 2:

There you're saying well, look at the people who are proving themselves have been capable of doing this thing. Don't simply just look at them and go well, it's all, mate Johnny, that will let him go through. He's like I hit golf balls with him. Or are we better? Let Jenny in, because we need a female on this thing. It's like hold on a sec, let's step back and go. What are these people actually doing? How valuable are they and where should they be positioned to get the best out of them, but also for the business or the clients to have the best experience. For that as well, I think that's a really important thing is that I'm often challenged by the idea of what is an employer of choice for females look like, Because a lot of the things we talk about is it's now just like flexibility.

Speaker 1:

that's the thing Do you know, the other things that were really big for me was that they had a pathway, a very clear, delineated pathway for men and women to move through to more, you know, for promotion.

Speaker 2:

Can you share some of that detail Like what was that Like?

Speaker 1:

the pathway to partnership for me. So that was how to get from, because I moved in at director how to get to partner.

Speaker 2:

How was it different for male and female, though?

Speaker 1:

I think they had more education, support, mentoring from the females Gotcha, because it was a rarer thing to happen, so it's like hey we need to really guide you.

Speaker 2:

Whereas the guys it's almost like an entitlement or it's a thing that will happen, whereas for women it's like you're not used to this happening, so let's prepare you for that. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And it kind of broke down myths and hacks and you know, the way to talk, the way to walk into a room, the way to engage with other people, to have power. The other thing they did at the time was they had this Deloitte Women in Business awards.

Speaker 2:

So to promote highlight, I guess you probably won something. Yeah, you did. Of course, you bloody win everything. That's why you're not there anymore. You're like I won all the awards. I might as well move on.

Speaker 1:

I did I did but then you get formed part of the alumni where they'll go out and do voluntary things or mentor, educate other women to help support them, which I really, really loved. They were really clear and open and transparent around pay and that was something that was really important to me and obviously that flexibility was a huge one for me at the time. So those were the things that at the time when I was looking at the employer choice for women. And the other thing is, when you go out to market, the way that they went out to market to get new recruits in, there is a difference in how you can go out to attract a male and a female, interestingly in verbiage and brand and look, and so they just had it quite, they had it right. And so a lot of the other ones I was looking at the time were just they said they were employer choice for women, but they're branding, they're marketing all of that stuff, the perception stuff the perception of reality just wasn't hitting the mark. And so I even had a lawyer once who just was only attracting blokes for applications, and he said to me I just need you to tell me why am I not attracting females? Had a look at the website. It was not any way anywhere. It was just male-oriented, very masculine. The verbiage was way off, and so I tweaked a couple of the words in his advert to make it more, I guess more more encouraging, more, you know, for women. Boom, he got his first woman employee. So even how we talk, even how we go out to market and how we brand ourselves is putting women off or on, depending upon what we're doing there.

Speaker 2:

And that might also that obviously happens for males too, maybe subconsciously, but yeah, so I'm intrigued with this and I always like to ask weird and wacky questions. So are you. I mean, it's a hard thing because there's a difference between a personal voice and a business voice, but I've always been big on authenticity and that kind of stuff. So you're suggesting that we change the way we talk to attract?

Speaker 1:

like other, people. It's the verbiage and honestly, it's more around openness, transparency, emotive and flexible. You put that into a job ad to the into your website. It's going to attract more females.

Speaker 2:

True, yeah, that's good. I mean, we haven't at Aluna we haven't had a.

Speaker 1:

We haven't had a. Testimonials yeah, make sure there's a woman, not all men, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he's a business owner that we work with that's female. He's like his teams that are female On your website with team, make sure it's not all.

Speaker 1:

If you're trying to attract women and there's all men, I can assure you a hundred percent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That ain't an atman.

Speaker 2:

No, no, no and it's. Yeah, it's interesting the way you kind of really represent your business in the public eye and what that does lead to. Like a years ago and I think I might have shared this on the podcast before, but years ago we had someone call up, a female call up, and they were speaking to one of our team who was a female and say, oh, you know, just really looking for to work with a female accountant, and they didn't give it any particular reason why. But at that point in time, the level of accountant that they required we didn't have within our team we had. We had a quite a broad, you know, number of females, but they they quite weren't ready to have those type of conversations and so that person didn't want to work with us, which was understandable, but it was one of those ones. Is we, I think, because we had a females and males on websites and like and that kind of stuff and the thing. they look at that and they went oh, I feel like that's way more accessible than wherever else they were looking, unfortunately, like we couldn't quite deliver there. We're in a. We've got a broader and more, even more diverse team now, but it was interesting that, and I think that was quite eye opening to me.

Speaker 1:

I feel what that happens with clients a lot for me. So I would have men, male clients, that don't want to work with us because we're all females, right. But also the female clients that do come in are like oh, I just want to work with you guys, you know, and some of the feedback we get is you don't talk down to me, you treat me as an equal, you treat me as a peer. There's no dumb questions Like that is actually really common feedback that they're still getting from their male accountants. Yeah. And so they're purposefully looking for a female, and so I think sometimes how we talk, we've got to be really conscious of that.

Speaker 2:

It's funny because I think if, like I know, with my mates, are you bloody idiot, you're dumb ass, what are you doing? So like with them, that kind of works, but if you say that to a female, it's the exact same. I haven't changed anything, just a different person in the room. And it's received significantly differently, and I've always had this. I may have even said it on the podcast as well A few times today. Just because they received it differently than you intended doesn't mean it's their fault.

Speaker 1:

No. Doesn't actually think about who you're talking to.

Speaker 2:

It might not be the right fit, but yeah but thinking about who you're talking to and be aware of who you're actually having conversation with, and ensuring you're having a conversation with and you still be authentic.

Speaker 1:

You can still be authentic, absolutely you can, and I think some of the scenarios that we're by say, for instance, they might come in with their partner and the person is speaking directly to the partner, but they're the person he runs.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I've had a couple of.

Speaker 1:

They're the person he runs a business and it's like fully clear that that's what's happening and it's like well, why are you still deferring to the person who isn't making the decisions in the business? Because they're the male? And I know that that's a bit of subconscious bias and maybe we're not even aware of it, but we need to be aware of it.

Speaker 2:

I've had female business owners come in with their partner and their partner who literally just helps out in the female business and the partner takes over the conversation over their wife or their girlfriend or whoever it is. I stopped that and it was like I had to be like okay, cool, let me just go back to the person who's actually responsible. Who's the shareholder and director, and like the inspiration, the IP, the everything and the reason this exists. Yes. That you're very clear in that situation that I've had is that they are supporting and collaborative. But at the end of the day, like that, I need to talk to her because she's the one that has that and I think that is. There is an unconscious bias that exists when you have two people in a room, you might often refer to the male. I don't know if it's a male. You refer to the person that you were late with better, though this is the thing you refer to, the and I'm generalising this. You might debunk immediately, but more than likely you'll refer to the female more than the male, because you relate to, there's a stronger connection before you even get to know anyone. Because of that, there's always, there's an only one. You see it generally everywhere, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's a generalisation and most probably, if I'm looking at the percentages, it might go a little bit more in your favour, but I feel like I can.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but how far does one go with that? There's an element of like oh hi, do you?

Speaker 1:

know what? I think it just comes down to being aware, it comes down to reading the room, it comes down to walking in their shoes. How do you want to be treated? Who are these people? How do I want to be talked to Like? I think all of those things are important.

Speaker 2:

I think that is a fantastic way for us to end this segment of is like be aware who you talk to. How do I want to be treated? How do I want to be treated? How do I ensure that I'm treating someone else, that so you know whether it's you're an employee in an environment, whether you're a leader in an environment, whether you're someone that's looking for help, whether you're someone that's helping, whatever that looks like. How do we be more aware? of the environment that we create and ensure that it's an environment that is welcoming for all and not creating restrictions and stuff Love it. Thank you, allie, I appreciate you sharing. I know you've probably got a dozen more stories that we haven't even got to and more than likely over a sparkling water with you and a whiskey with me. I'll figure one out and be like we should talk about that on a podcast again.

Speaker 1:

We've got many more podcasts ahead of us.

Speaker 2:

Many, many more.

Speaker 1:

No, I like how this one has gone, it's going good.

Speaker 2:

you're happy. I'm more positive. Cool, have I been okay in terms of like the man on the other side of the?

Speaker 4:

conversation, absolutely. I'm just so nervous about fucking this up.

Speaker 3:

I know, and I've seen it in you, yeah, but I love your inquisitive, I love that you just want to know.

Speaker 1:

You want to be able to help and know.

Speaker 2:

So the next time this happened, you'd be like I know, and if I'm completely honest and very transparent here is because the majority of times I've ever been exposed around this stuff, it's been a woman trying to kick me in the fucking head about being shit, even though I'm like hey but I'm not.

Speaker 1:

And unfortunately I find that there's so much. There's groups of that. Everywhere, though, there's groups of males, that you would be True.

Speaker 2:

But it's like that overwhelming majority is like how can we have more of like a healthy conversation where we're not kicking people who might not even realize they're doing the wrong thing? You know, if it's not intentional, then we treat it differently. If it is intentional, let's kick them.

Speaker 1:

But do you know what this is? People carrying their baggage and putting it on you and saying carrying my baggage for me yeah, because I've gone through some crap stuff. But there are so many great blokes in this industry that I respect and respect me and that's healing for me, right. And I brought my baggage in and said every one of you, you know you all did this and you did that and you think this and you think that it would never go anywhere. And so it's down to the individual. So, yes, there's going to be some that bash, but there are some that are open. And so, in the style of you, just be absolutely, you, absolutely Be open, be transparent and you know what, if somebody is bashing, you come get me, because I'll bash them, because you got more muscles.

Speaker 2:

And I will probably say to the, to the anyone out there that is maybe you know hearing things around gender disparity or this and that, and feel like maybe they're being personally attacked from that. It's important to know that that is not a thing that's directed to you.

Speaker 1:

That is someone who's?

Speaker 2:

had an experience that needs to share that. In a way, that's an opportunity for us to recognize.

Speaker 1:

Do you know? All you need to do there is listen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but it's but it's not a personal attack.

Speaker 1:

So and.

Speaker 2:

I've had these challenges before. I'm like but I'm not that bad, and I'm like hold on a second, they're not talking to me, they're talking out loud and I know we do this with stuff that we might say and it's like well, you actually that person we might be saying people are shit. Actually, we're not saying everybody's shit, we're just saying there are some people out there that are shit, and sometimes you have to make enough noise so they notice. So if you're out there and you're going oh, everyone's just banging drums and saying blokes of shit. That's not what's being said, but it's a great opportunity for us to have that. So I appreciate who we're talking to, the who's in the room. What's in the environment?

Speaker 1:

So thanks mate, thank you Absolutely, thanks, friends.

Speaker 4:

Catch you later. Who wasn't that a fun adventure, my friends, thank you so much, so incredibly much, for hanging out with us today. Ali, you've been amazing. Andrew, you've been all right. How good is it to be able to have adventures together? It's so is.

Speaker 1:

And you know what. Keep following us. We are all over the socials at accounting adventures. Check us out on the website. Give us a bit of a like. You know how much we love that stuff.

Speaker 4:

The best thing about the adventure is the people that we do it with. So thank you so much for listening, thank you so much for hanging out with us, and please bring all the ideas. Keep Rick Heman becoming. We can't wait to share more cool adventures with you. We love you guys.

Female Representation in the Accounting Industry
Women in Accounting
Empowering Women in the Accounting Industry
Supporting Young Female Accountants in Work
Supporting Women's Career Growth and Greatness
Gender Differences in Partnership Pathways