Here at Thomson Reuters, we understand that your job title doesn’t truly reflect the vast spectrum of roles you play every day. So, to dispel the stereotypes and champion accountants, we’re bringing their stories to the fore – about what makes them more than just their job title. We’re celebrating accountants, because let’s face it – it doesn’t happen enough!
Freddie Faure co-founded CooperFaure Accountants with Jon Cooper back in 2006. Although the firm is based in Teddington in South West London, it’s clear to see from Freddie’s interview at her home office in Dusseldorf that the firm is not restricted by location. After successfully running a previous business together, the pair decided to embark on a new venture focusing on accounting and advisory services, and their firm developed rather quickly:
“My life requirements changed my need to be in Teddington. My family had to move to Dusseldorf and, as a result of that, changes needed to happen that meant I could do both: be mum and also a business owner…in doing so we implemented technology that allowed us to be a hundred percent cloud-based business.”
Freddie and her business partner Jon adapted the practice’s ability to run from various locations to continue business as usual. Their team work across Europe – from London to Sweden to Dusseldorf. Freddie credits good communication: “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what time zone you’re in, I’m still able to access my business directly. Also, we hold a lot of conference calls so I’m permanently in touch with the company. There’s no reason why it’s not possible to do.”
CooperFaure is an accountancy firm, primarily offering traditional accounting, however Freddie believes they are more than just a compliance company. Originally, the firm specialised in contracting accounting, but purposefully evolved to take on more start-ups and technology driven companies who required more complex services. Freddie explains, “Supporting start-ups essentially growing and going from a seed to a plant, feeding and nurturing them through that process, which does involve the traditional element of accounting, but also goes beyond that by way of raising finance to obviously helping with their cash flow to motivate them, on how to involve their staff and their employees.”
When asked which attributes she credits most to her success, Freddie answers: “Empathy, kindness, honesty, integrity and humility are very important traits”. And what makes a great accountant? According to Freddie, it’s ‘having that foresight to survive in an ever-changing platform of the industry.’
Freddie comments that the accountant-client relationship requires a certain level of personal understanding and admits ‘sometimes we know more about our clients than even their own families’. She describes it as a ‘very hand-holding relationship, not just professionally but also sometimes they have worries and concerns that stem from their businesses but flow through to their personal lives…you have to be there to catch them when they fall.’
Freddie enjoys being part of a fast-paced industry that in her words ‘has been stale for a very long time’. She implies that offering advisory services will be very much at the forefront of accountancy in the coming years, and that bookkeeping tasks will become automated. Her views on future trends within the industry are indicative of a shift in the split between bookkeeping versus advisory services.
Freddie remarks that machine learning ‘will negate a lot of what we do because Artificial Intelligence will allow, for example, reconciliations to happen at the click of a button – and anyone can do that.’ However, she adds: “Machines can only do so much…they can learn information but they can’t interpret it and you still would need an accountant to do the critical assessment of what that information does mean and how you can use that information to help the business in the future.”
Watch Freddie’s full interview below:
Enjoyed this interview? Read Stephen Pell’s story on what it’s like to be an accountant to rockstars [5 minute read].
At Thomson Reuters, we recognise you are more than an accountant, and in the same way, the Digita Professional Suite offers accountants more than software. What makes you more than an accountant? Comment below.