THIS week’s High Flyer is Louise Kelly, audit and assurance partner at Grant Thornton.
What was your first job?
During the summer months while home from university, I worked in a local accountancy practice, WS Watson & Co in Omagh. This provided me with a great head start before I joined Grant Thornton as a trainee in 2000.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a degree in Accounting and Finance from Manchester Metropolitan University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003.
What do you attribute your success to?
I attribute my success to working in a fantastic firm, sheer hard work and my mother. To work in professional practice, you need a significant amount of strength and resilience and she was one of the strongest women I know.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I would say that I am passionate about everything I do and full of energy. As a mother juggling a family with two young boys, my own career and all the other commitments that go with it, energy is something I need plenty of.
Who do you look up to in business?
I have the greatest respect for entrepreneurs that are willing to take a risk and start a new business, not only to make a success of it for themselves, but to create wealth for others. Thankfully, providing services to companies of all sizes and across all sectors, I have the privilege of working with such leaders on a daily basis.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
The single most important thing I believe is never to ask somebody to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. We work as a team, which makes the success of the firm a collective effort.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I, along with other business leaders, may sound like a broken record for saying it, but the political stalemate at Stormont just has to stop. Meeting with clients across sectors as diverse as construction, education, motor retail and manufacturing, the impasse is among their most common complaints as they see economic growth stymied by the lack of decision making.
What website or app could you not do without?
Instagram is a guilty pleasure providing an escape from the daily rush.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was The Terrible Tuesday by Sabrina Barton from my hometown Omagh, about a woman who showed tremendous strength and courage in the face of adversity. A truly inspirational read.
What car do you drive?
I drive a BMW.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have written a book, Advanced Auditing & Assurance which is the audit text book used in Chartered Accountants Ireland final auditing exams.
Also, if you had phoned to book your driving theory test in the late 1990s, the automated voice on the other end of the line was mine.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I love nothing more than getting away from it all to Portnoo in Co Donegal – a walk along the beach to the rocks is better than any spa treatment.