Inspirational Woman: Lucy Franklin | Managing Director, Accordance VAT

Lucy Franklin

Lucy’s vision for Accordance VAT puts people at its heart – to harness its experts at every level of the business, enabling people to reach their potential, and facilitating business growth through their empowerment. 

Bringing over 20 years of managerial experience to the role, her strategic thinking and knowledge of the developing VAT landscape ensures we are able to drive greater trade, harmony and understanding across Europe.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am the Managing Director of Accordance VAT, an international VAT compliance and consultancy practice based in Brighton. I was recently appointed to this role, and bring to it over 20 years of managerial experience and growth strategy. Previously I was Director of Sales and Marketing in the company, but overall my time in finance has been relatively short – I’ve only been in the industry six years. Becoming MD of a financial services company is a challenge I’m rising to with passion, excitement, and determination to put people at the heart of everything the company does. A key aspect of my role is to ensure we are able to drive greater trade, harmony and understanding across Europe.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I sat down to plan goals, yearly and five-yearly, but not a career plan as such. The goals I set for myself led to my career evolving – it was a very organic thing.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely. Many. Being in a role with this kind of responsibility takes a lot out of you, professionally and personally.  My biggest challenge to date (which remains as such at times) is finding the right balance between my professional and personal life. I care so much about the company, and the people within it, I forget to give myself time to just be me!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

When I was 28 I purchased a franchise-model business for £75,000. I remember submitting a business plan to the bank and wondering as I walked home who I thought I was. I got an office on The Strand in London and hired a team. I knew nothing about owning a business really, but I did have self-belief. It did not occur to me that I might not be able to do it. That self-belief allowed me to sell it for a healthy profit some years later. That I think is my greatest achievement – along with getting the position as MD at Accordance. Finance is a very male-orientated sector, so I am pleased to be doing it for women too!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Self-belief and instinct

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have mentored and coached many people during my career. Helping people to see their real potential is very important to me. Most people need another perspective, to be truly seen through the eyes of someone else and not just their own.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

There needs to be a far bigger investment in attracting and retaining women in sectors that are currently very male-orientated – sectors such as law, finance, and politics.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

To listen more to as many people as possible – the answers are all there, if you can only hear them.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Currently, I am focused on really putting people’s expertise and talent at the heart of everything we do. I want to make Accordance VAT one of the most progressive professional services companies in Europe, led by its people – not its management.

How important is it to have a vision when you’re in a senior management position?   

When you’re in a position of leadership, it’s essential to have a vision of where you want to go and how you will take people with you. You have to be able to engage your staff in what you’re doing, and show them how you will help them to achieve their best.

What is good business management for you?

Good business management, whatever field you’re in, lies in the ability to empower people. You have to get maximum productivity, of course, because that impacts the bottom line. But you can increase productivity not by being draconian and cracking the whip but by increasing job satisfaction, and harnessing and bringing together the different skills in your team which complement each other.

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