Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
I am the Founder and Director of WrightCFO Ltd, a multiple award-winning consultancy providing outsourced part-time Finance Director services to SMEs. As well as being a business owner, I am also a Chartered Management Accountant and a Finance Director with over 16 years’ experience in finance.
WrightCFO was born in 2014, when I realised that most SMEs did not have a Finance Director. Many could not afford one, nor would they have the work for one full time. But boy, could they use the expertise! I discovered what they would be willing to pay for, is an FD in bite-size portions, with no commitment and it being risk-free. So I began to offer businesses part-time FD contracts myself, from a few days a week to a day a month- whatever they needed or could afford. Demand grew and so I expanded to what is now 7 FDs/ CFOs, myself included. We cover a variety of industries across Greater London and are growing everyday.
Our point of difference is simple:
1. All our FDs are qualified accountants and ex-corporate
2. We are ALL hands-on. We believe SMEs need do-ers, not just blue-sky thinkers
3. We all feel hugely rewarded when our clients do well
How has your Designated PA contributed to any of your recent successes?
Because I am a CFO a few days a week, as well as run the business and am busy raising two children, surprisingly, I find I cannot do everything all of the time. Designated PA has helped me get jobs done which I am not strong at (like mail merges, WordPress and prettying up presentations) while I get on with the work I am actually good at. Josephine Little currently supports Sophie as her Designated PA.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Winning two awards in the first two years of business was a huge achievement. The Commended Best New Start-up Award in 2015 and the Recommended best Professional Practice Award in 2016, both part of the Richmond Business awards, is something we are so proud of.
What is the hardest thing you have done in your career so far?
The hardest thing I’ve done, is putting in a full day’s work on 2 to 3 hours sleep several days in a row, due to non-sleeping children, and having to make smart decisions while I’m at it. On days like these (and gladly there are fewer and fewer of them) coffee can only get you so far. After a point, you just need to dig deep and find that adrenalin.
Best bit of advice you have received?
Consistent advice I have been receiving from my Dad since the first day of my first job at 16 years old, waitressing in a retirement home after school:
- Show up 10 minutes early, and leave 10 minutes late
- Dress like the job you want, not the job you have
- Make sure you walk the floor and say hi to everyone, and ask everyone how they are- regardless of their hierarchy in the business. People want to know you care and that you know they exist.
Advice you would give to others?
You do not need to be a genius to succeed in most things. You mostly need to work hard and work smart. So, suck it up, and put the hours in. They will pay off.
Patricia Bacon of Patricia Bacon Consulting. I’m very lucky to have her as a mentor through the Richmond Chamber of Commerce mentoring programme. She specialises in helping companies refine their strategies and achieve their full growth potential. But I love her mostly because she gives me hell when I need it.
One rule you live by?
If you want to do something but are scared, just close your eyes and jump.
What would you not fly without?
Two ipads filled to the brim with kids’ movies. Most importantly Trolls, Moana and Sing. If my girls are happy and kept busy, I might be able to close my eyes for a few minutes.
Things you buy in bulk?
Notepads. I like to use a fresh notepad when meeting a potential new client. Each meeting is potentially a clean, fresh and new chapter with an unwritten future. (Possibly a bit weird and wasteful, I realise.)
An amazing fact about you?
I have moved house 26 times in my 42 years.
Favourite restaurant and why?
Per Se in New York City. The best (and most expensive) meal of my life. Every single bite was work of art and a taste sensation. Even the butter was impressive. And yet, it was relaxed, not stuffy at all. The perfect 4-hour lunch in which we just celebrated life.
Preferred way to spend Sunday afternoon?
Spending the afternoon in Bushy Park with my family, teaching my girls to ride their bikes, spotting deer and horses. It’s a beautiful place. We are so fortunate to live nearby.
Favourite movie or book and why?
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I’ve read it three times. It has it everything: vampires, history, fiction, love and fear. The perfect book for escapism. I have to read it with the light on though!
Preferred form of exercise and why?
I recently took up Pilates. I love it because it’s like getting an hour of physio but being told off for not doing your exercises that week. I’ve also done by best thinking on a run.
We would like to thank Sophie for taking the time to answer our questions.
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