"I wanted to join EY’s Transaction Support team because working in a dynamic and experienced team advising some of the most high profile companies and PE houses was enormously attractive to me.”
As a person, I spend more time thinking about the future rather than the past. So when I initially joined EY as a newly-qualified Executive after completing my accountancy qualification, I found the shift from completing audits to supporting companies meet their future strategic objectives to be hugely rewarding and very much complementary to my mind-set.
Over the 8 years I was at the firm before my maternity leave, I am very lucky to have worked with a mix of clients, from large FTSE100 corporates to mid-tier companies, PE houses and Private Capital funds, on a mix of transactions ranging from sell-side, buy-side, bid defence, IPOs, public fundraisings and secondary listings.
I have had the opportunity to travel, and work alongside some of the leading industry players and advisors. I have get to meet incredible people and have the opportunity to continuously learn and develop my technical skills, personal and leadership skills and deep sector knowledge.
I returned to Transactions Support after maternity leave following the birth of my daughter. I knew I was keen to continue to work in an area which I enjoy and find challenging, but I also knew that I didn’t want to completely miss out on my daughter’s early years. It was for this reason I explored the option of returning on a reduced hours basis.
The transition from being a full time person for eight years prior, to becoming a parent, and then a working parent was significant and quite challenging, but extremely fulfilling.
The firm was extremely supportive of this and very open to the idea of me returning on an 80% basis. Collectively, we discussed what would work for me, my family, the market and the team and agreed that working four full days with Tuesdays as my non-working day would be the best option.
I also have a childcare arrangement for which I have a commitment between 5pm and 7:30/8pm, when I pick up my daughter from nursery each day, although with a bit of notice and forward planning I can make alternative arrangements on an exceptional basis if needed. This isn’t a formal arrangement as such, but one which is critical I keep to, so I will organise my day to ensure that I can fulfil my obligations to the team and client around these commitments.
The last eight months have been a real learning curve. I have had to work differently, be much more organised and structured on one hand, but also more flexible to accommodate the “fluid” nature of a Transaction Support job. I have needed to rely more on others, both at home and at work, but the most significant learning is that I now know it is possible.
Team support is necessary in order to make a success of reduced hours working. Feedback from the team highlights that the arrangement is mutually beneficial, through the creation of more opportunities and working in an environment which lives and breathes a flexible working culture. We have also had great feedback from the partner and the client, which has dispelled my concerns about the quality of our client service suffering as a result of my dual commitments.
I learnt a lot by reaching out to other colleagues with similar reduced hours arrangements across the business. In particular, discussing what the common pitfalls and success factors are, and how to be realistic about the inevitable project crunch points and the juggling act between business development responsibilities and client delivery.
Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to come back to work on this basis, and continue to have a great career and a family.