My name is Heather Barclay. I have over 30 years of business experience, working in the private, public and charitable sectors. As a Member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, I hold a Level III Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts (passed with merit). I am currently studying for a Diploma in Payroll Management, and hope to add this service in the coming months.
My career has been quite varied, and the path leading into bookkeeping was probably not very orthodox! I worked on a dairy farm after leaving school, and studied agriculture at college. Alas, my graduation coincided with the introduction of milk quotas, throwing the dairy industry into chaos. With farming jobs few and far between, I was lucky to find a role in my local Zoo - first as an Education Officer, and then as a Keeper. For five years, I was privileged to have Scotland's only Bactrian Camels in my care, along with many other exotic animals and birds. Job satisfaction was high, but I was on the same pay scale as the elephant (peanuts!) so eventually, economic reality set in.
Time for a change, although still working in conservation. I had ten very happy years as a Countryside Ranger, helping people enjoy and learn about the natural environment. Education and training have always been a priority for me. While working as a Ranger, I undertook management training part time. This started innocently enough with supervisory management (so I didn't become a total slave driver with our volunteers), but soon progressed down a slippery slope, leading to a part time Master of Business Administration course (MBA) at Strathclyde University.
A career change took me into animal welfare, first as Assistant Manager at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, and later as Director of the National Equine (and Smaller Animals) Defence League, which is where I first discovered the joy of ledgers, and accounts that balance. It was a time of big changes for the League - I transformed financial procedures, moving the accounts from a paper ledger onto Sage and introducing tills, then led the charity through the challenging process of registering for VAT, and reclaiming tax paid in the years before registration.
The shop and tea room, vital sources of income, were also expanded and turnover greatly increased . Best of all, we found good homes for many more lost and abandoned animals.
Another ten years slipped past, then family life lead to a change of pace and venue. Aberdeenshire became home, and I spent three years as a Bookkeeper with a local firm of accountants. Initially lured away by the prospect of reliving my youth through a maternity leave cover post coordinating the local Ranger Service, I accidentally fell sideways into Town Centre regeneration for a few years. Developing projects to promote my local town was both challenging and interesting, but my enjoyment of bookkeeping never went away. After completing my bookkeeping studies with the ICB and seeking a better work/life balance, I took the big step into self employment.
Thrift Bookkeeping is my dream - the chance to use my skills to take care of the numbers and enable others to concentrate on what they need to do to build their own businesses.