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CFO and cake boss: How I juggle my passions

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CFO and cake boss: How I juggle my passions

Caitie Copley is the chief financial officer at Adelaide-based firm Accodex, and though she’s a self-confessed addict to her career, she still finds time for her baking side-hustle. 

My Story Katarina Taurian 24 March 2019
— 3 minute read

What personal wins and struggles have impacted your career?

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My supportive family have had the biggest positive impact on my career. While I was at Flinders University, I was working three jobs, while maintaining an HD grade average and they backed me the entire way; always making sure that I was eating properly, and encouraging me to get enough sleep (never happened – I survived on about 5 hours of sleep a night).

My biggest struggle has been my natural introverted personality. I’ve had to put a lot of my personal development toward breaking through that barrier, and after being in the industry for six years, I now feel more comfortable walking into a room of people I don’t know and am I’m not as nervous about speaking in front of groups.

Were your salary expectations realistic when you started out?

I didn’t really know what to expect when I was an undergrad. I don’t think there is any job role out there like mine at Accodex, so there really isn’t anything that I could benchmark it against. Whilst my business card says I am the chief financial officer, I also service a small book of clients, am a pseudo-partner relationship manager, workflow manager, and sit on the board of directors as company secretary, so nothing really compares.

What advice would you give your graduate self?

Get that work/life balance sorted ASAP. I barely had anytime to myself while I was at university, so when I graduated, I suddenly had all this free time at night, when I would normally be studying. Instead of using that time to work more hours, go to the gym, catch up with the friends who you had drifted from while at uni, and spend more time on your hobbies!

If you could change one thing about the accounting profession, what would it be?

There are a few things within the accounting industry that I think need to change, but I think the universities need to change first. Graduates are coming out of universities with theoretical knowledge, but there isn’t much focus on connecting the theoretical to the practical. For example, in my third year I was learning consolidations in my Company Accounting class. I can show you how to complete the worksheet and how to write out all the journal entries, but this is not how it would be handled using accounting software in practice. The universities are trying to bridge this gap, by encouraging students to do placements, or even including a placement topic in their study plans, but I think the topics themselves need to include a practical component that links the hand written journal entry to completing the task using accounting software.

Is your job fun?

It is! A lot of people laugh when you say working in the accounting industry is fun, but it really depends on who you work with. Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of hard work involved, occasionally weekends are given up, and there are stressful moments, but the team at Accodex make the days enjoyable.

Does your job look like what you expected it to?

Not at all! As I mentioned above, my role isn’t just chief financial officer, so it is definitely not what I expected when I was in my first year of university – I thought that I would be at a Big 4 firm, doing tax returns! Never in a million years did I think that I would be running the finance department myself and making business decisions that could affect the success of Accodex.

What is your favourite part of your work?

I love working with the Accodex Partners. It is so rewarding to go along with them on their journeys, watching their businesses grow and achieving their goals, both business and personal. The pride I feel when a partner completes a difficult job or lands a massive client is unparalleled, and it’s nice to know that what Accodex HQ is building and working so hard on is worth it and making a difference in that partner’s life.

Do you have a side hustle? What is it and how do you maintain it?

As if I’m not busy enough, I do have a side hustle. I have a cake business called Cakes by Caitie, which I run from my home. It requires a lot of night and weekend work, and is very different to my job at Accodex. It allows me to tap into my creative side . I make cakes and cupcakes for all occasions; from birthday cupcakes, to children’s cakes, and even wedding cakes!

CFO and cake boss: How I juggle my passions
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