Page 20 - Chartered ONE – Issue 26
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LSCA BUSINESS
We shall be highlighting the memories of each of our women Presidents over
the next few issues of Chartered ONE, and today we start with Anne Morris. My memories from the accountancy profession
         Anne
Morris
Training contract commenced September 1973
Name of Firm
Deloitte + Co, Liverpool
Admitted to ICAEW
May 1979
Professional role when President of LSCA undertaken
Partner, Macfarlane + Co, Liverpool
I fell into accountancy really, I can’t say that I ever particularly strove to be an accountant.
I grew up in Prescot, and went to an independent school – Huyton College, where I was very happy. I was reasonably academic, and we were all encouraged to take on leadership roles.
I always intended to become a Maths teacher. However, I needed to have a “fallback” for a form at school, so as my father was an accountant (Finance Director
in industry) I decided to opt for accountancy. There was also a TV drama at that time, which featured a rather handsome local squire
with a female accountant who went out riding with him. It looked to be a great life. (Hadleigh, starring Gerald Harper – it may have been a female lawyer.) I never really expected to actually become an Accountant!
Unfortunately my mother had to have spinal surgery just around the time of my A Levels, and I chose to remain in Liverpool whilst she recovered, rather than go away to University. That meant having to find a place through clearing, and the only place that I was offered at Liverpool University was for Maths and Computational Sciences, in the Faculty of Social Studies. It may not be totally accurate, but I recall my father thinking that I was
going to be with “a crowd of long haired hippies” which he clearly did not want for his daughter. So instead I applied to accountancy firms, was accepted by Harmood Banner,
and completed the Foundation Course at Liverpool Polytechnic. By the time I started work, the merger with Deloitte + Co had taken place, and I found myself to be 1 of 2 girls in an intake of 15. There were, I recall,
over 400 staff – which made it the largest accountancy practise outside London.
At that time, there were not many other female professional staff in Liverpool office, and I was the only one in our audit group. I remember being regarded as a novelty at some clients – but in a nice way, it never bothered me. At one client company, I was shown round by one
of the “middle management” – identifiable
as such by the grey uniform jacket that he wore, and the particular works restaurant where he had his breaks! He took great delight in introducing me to all and sundry
as “Anne, she’s with the Auditors, and she is an Auditor, not a Comp Operator!” (If anyone still remembers those amazing Comptometer machines and the ladies who worked them, who we took out to check the adds on ledgers and computer print outs, and extract audit samples using statistical sampling. 40 years ago, it really was a different world!)
Another audit memory that I have, is being sent on a stocktake at a large bakery.
Being a very diligent student accountant, and having had the in house training sessions on stock take attendance, I insisted that I had to climb the flour silo and look into/dip it from the top. Well, they could easily have fixed the gauge – couldn’t they? The warehouseman asked if I was sure, as “Blimey, we’ve never had an Auditor do that before – especially not a young girl like you. Are you sure you’ll be ok love?” Well, who could object to that kindness?
In Summer 1974 I was part of the LCASA golf team at the Nottingham Fiesta – where a great time was had by all. As a result
of friendships made, I joined the LCASA Committee, becoming Treasurer in due course and then the Students’ rep on the “Senior Society”. I still have 3 or 4 good friends from those days – horrifying to think that it is almost 45 years ago.
After qualifying the natural thing was to move onto the LSCA Committee, and over the years I was Dinner Secretary (many times!), Courses Chairman, and Treasurer before moving through the ranks up to President in 1997/98.
In meetings we would receive reports from Moorgate Place of members achieving 30,
40, 50 years membership. I wonder if anyone knew that I had achieved my 40 years last year – again, a quite frightening thought. For some reason, we also seemed to be aware that there were no recorded deaths of female members of ICAEW!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
It seems to surprise people when I say
that I am not very good at being forceful when I think that I am right, and others are not. I have never been comfortable with confrontation, as I don’t want to appear to be rude. After all, I did go to a school for “Young Ladies”. But today’s world is very different, and I think that when I was younger I should have stuck to my guns more than I did.
I have to say though, that I was promoted
to Junior Manger, Assistant Manager and Manager whilst at Deloitte – the one that used to be Deloitte Haskins + Sells, now PWC. I certainly never experienced any barriers or salary differentials, or – as far
as I am aware – benefitted from positive discrimination. Who knows, I might even have been Liverpool’s first female partner – if we had not set up Macfarlane + Co as a de- merger from DH+S. But that’s another story.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW ENTRANTS OR PEOPLE THINKING OF ENTERING THE PROFESSION?
Although I remained in the profession, in General Practice, Accountancy is such an excellent training arena for any future career in finance/business, that I would encourage people to consider it as a means to an end, and not necessarily the end in itself.
Through the training process, an insight
is gained into so many different types of business and organisation. Once qualified, many opportunities exist for individuals who have learned and demonstrated an appreciation for adopting and following good practice, within an arena where ethics are sacrosanct.
I have never regretted falling into my career in Accountancy. For a while I even had roles as a Training Manager with DH+S, and subsequently as a lecturer with Andersons Tutors, so I was even able to fulfil my original plan of teaching.
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