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Accounting, bookkeeping and outsourced FD services.

Supporting ambitious, growth-driven, female-led businesses to feel confident about their finances by taking on your full finance function. This gives you time to focus on growing your business and removes the finance headache.

How did it all begin?

I had wanted to start this business many years ago. I’d started a couple of times, consulting to SME’s to improve their financial health and processes, but both times ended being employed by the client. The PAYE pull with a young family and a mortgage was very real. I enjoyed my job, and loved the people, but there was something missing, I knew I really wanted to have my own business around my family, helping lots of businesses and not just the one I was working for.

Then came covid! And I decided this was my opportunity …. So instead of taking furlough I went and learnt everything there was to know about running an accounting practice and I’ve never looked back!

What sets your business apart?

Having spent my whole career working in industry, as opposed to an accounting practice, I am very future focused. Yes we need to know your books are 100% correct, and making lots of efficiencies is essential, but its knowing how we can help use the financial information and how you can use this to drive the business forward.

We build strong connections with our clients, we don’t just turn the accounts round, we want to be trusted partners and part of the growth journey and we avoid confusing jargon.

We also have several neurodiverse clients, and with a predominantly ND family I’ve learned that sometimes we need to communicate differently and find what works for individual clients – one size does not fit all.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

We help B2B service based business owners to take the stress away from finance by providing full end to end accounting, bookkeeping and outsourced FD services. Our goal is to handle all financial aspects, so you can do what you do best – growing your business. We offer tailored solutions that will allow you to make informed decisions, based on up to date data, increase your profitability and reclaim some of your time that’s been lost to worrying about your finances.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

I want to help more B2B service based businesses. My vision is to expand our services to reach a wider audience. In addition to the core accounting services, I’d like to help more women that have given up a career to start businesses by offering training packages to give them the confidence to succeed.

I’ve also set up a second business that will teach teenagers about financial education, to give them the confidence to have a career in finance and to also be confident around finance once they become adults and aim for financial independence.

Fiona Brownlee

Founder of

Sterling Financial Management Ltd

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

I’m passionate about helping other female entrepreneurs to feel confident about their business and financial decisions. I’m also passionate about educating our future female leaders in financial literacy.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

I left school at 16 not knowing what I wanted to do!

I was given a few opportunities and started with an apprenticeship scheme learning business. After this, I studied my AAT – Association of Accounting Technicians and realising I had a bit of knack for this, I went on to study the Chartered Management Accounting qualification. I had some great mentors that supported me along the way, and opened doors and opportunities and I love paying this forward and helping others along the way. I think this is why I’m so driven to support other businesses owners to grow their business so they can live the life they love, and to support our future women to feel confident about their finances and work towards financial independence.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

I’ve worked in finance throughout my career, in corporate, in VC funded start ups and in high growth business, both in London and Johannesburg and now I’m able to bring all of this together to support SME’s to manage their business finances and reporting, taxes and business planning.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

Try to find a balance and have boundaries, but also, make sure you love what you do.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Find your tribe.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

Find your tribe. It may take some time. Find people that fit with your values, that have your back and will support you when you aren’t in the room. Your family and friends won’t always understand your journey, your business besties will!

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

Bootstrapping! I’m not looking for outside investment. Although I may look for investment for my new business that is to educate teenagers on financial literacy – this is still early days.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

Time – you want to do it all -especially in the early days when you don’t have much of a budget, but the earlier you can start to outsource or hire, the easier your life becomes.

Financial – make sure you are on top of your finances, and forecasts. Even as an accountant, I need to practice what I preach!

Disappointments – learn not to take disappointments personally.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

There is huge gap in female led business v male businesses and when women come together to support each other it can just be amazing.

60

Seconds

with

Fiona Brownlee

My inspiration is...

Being a role model for my children.

My greatest fear is...

Losing my family.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Moving country with 3 children.

Guilty pleasure?

Chardonnay.

Mantra you live by?

I can do this.

Female role model?

My business coach. She’s an inspiration.

Women-led brand you love?

Scamp and Dude.

Top productivity tool?

Pixie (just accountancy based but manages my life).

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