Features / If I Knew Then

If I Knew Then: Angela Appiah Shippey

By ellie pipe, Friday May 31, 2019

Chartered accountant Angela Appiah Shippey is a client director at FD Works, a firm of accountants, business advisors and Xero specialists based in Wick that operates across the country.

How did you start out in business?

I qualified with Arthur Andersen in 1998 and decided to move straight out of practice into industry. I then spent the next 20 years working in a number of different sectors; including advertising, banking, professional services and healthcare, mainly running finance functions.

Last December, I decided to move back into a client-facing role, so I joined FD Works as the business values were very much aligned with my own. The role of accountants has really changed over the last 20 years and so it is great to work somewhere that really embraces this.

If you knew then what you know now, what mistakes might you have avoided?
I didn’t realise working life would be so subjective. I worked really hard at school and university and my hard work delivered top results. Entering the workplace, I realised that so many other factors (not all of them fair) actually determine your success. Once I understood this and changed my mindset, working life became easier.

What advice would you have given yourself when starting out?

Stop worrying about things being perfect.  I have coached and mentored many women over the years and the thing that I often see holding them back is the desire for perfection because with it comes that fear of failure that can stop us progressing.

If you knew then what you know now, would you still be sitting there? 

Yes definitely – my career has had lots of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it because life is a rollercoaster and you improve and develop by learning from your mistakes.

What do you know now that you didn’t know then?

That the most important thing in life is resilience. So many things are out of your control. I used to meticulously plan my career but then a series of curveballs were thrown at me. So now I just go with the flow and am enjoying life and work much more as a result.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received so far? 

Do not measure inputs measure outputs. Too many people focus on hours worked rather than what has been achieved by the end of the day. I always start my day thinking what I need to achieve both at work and personally and plan my day accordingly.

What is your business highlight? 

I am really motivated by doing a good job, so all my highlights involve adding value.

What is your business low point? 

A few times in my career I have not been allowed to be my authentic self.  This is why I now talk a lot about the importance of diversity and inclusion and in particular the concept of diversity of thought.

We all think differently – this should be celebrated and leveraged.

What keeps you awake? 

Nothing – I sleep really well, but I am so busy with everything I have going on that I just don’t sleep enough. I have always burned the candle at both ends as I am a real ‘work hard, play hard’ kind of person. This is getting harder as I get older, but I just tend to sleep a lot on holiday.

What’s changed from when you started out? 

Definitely the technology. When I first started my career in 1995 I didn’t have a mobile phone and I still remember the day we discovered that we could also send emails outside of the building.

What’s still on your to-do list?

I really enjoy the volunteer work I do in the Bristol community – I am a trustee of Bluebell Care Trust and on the audit and finance committee of Solon Housing Association – and would love to have the time to support more organisations.

What’s next for you in business and personally? 

For the foreseeable future, more of the same as I really like what I am doing.

Personally, I am hoping that life will one day be less hectic but with two very sporty daughters, I can’t see that happening any time soon.

Read More: If I knew then: Anna Wilson

Related articles