Accountancy & Banking

Published: May 25, 2020 | Updated: May 25, 2020

“I’ve never been so stressed” – Kimberley’s juggling act balancing business and home life

Kimberley McCarthy, Director, McCarthy Browne Bookkeeping Ltd.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

“I’ve never been so stressed – and literally petrified – in all my life.”

Kimberley McCarthy’s words will strike a chord with many – but especially the self-employed.

The single mother-of-two has been engaged in one continuous juggling act during the current crisis.

The ‘balls’ have included running her own bookkeeping business – McCarthy Browne Bookkeeping Ltd – launched just eight months ago as well as home-schooling her two children, Oscar, seven, and Olivia, six.

And all the time worrying about keeping a roof over their heads.

It’s been tough.

“I was getting up at 5am to do two or three hours work before the children are awake and then working up to midnight,” said Kimberley, 35.

“I’ve been worried about being a good mother to my children while running my own business.

“It’s been such a period of anxiety.”

But things have got better since the first days of lockdown.

Because Kimberley, who lives in West Moors, has, like so many others, pivoted her business to reflect the new times we’re living in.

It’s still bookkeeping but a lot more as well.

“I’ve been helping people with the various government schemes brought in during recent weeks as well as advising on tax payment holidays and deferring bill payments.

“Basically it’s how to react financially to the Covid-19 crisis.

“I’ve also been giving free advice and offering payment plans for clients signing up for a year so they can spread the cost with monthly payments.”

The change in direction is working.

Kimberley now has 14 clients with seven joining in April.

Her goal for the first year was 20.

She said: “I’ve outsourced my social media and concentrated on my core business.

“I’m also getting a better work-life balance and, compared to how I felt at the beginning of the lockdown, feel much happier.”

Others may dream of becoming a pop star, actress or TV personality.

But Kimberley set her heart on becoming an accountant from the age of 11.

She said: “My parents were not well off and I never really saw my Dad because he was always working.

“But they instilled in me the importance of paying your mortgage and taxes and then living off whatever was left.

“I was determined to be good with money when I became an adult and that was by going into accountancy.”

Home educated, Kimberley achieved four A-levels before studying at Bournemouth University where she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance.

Over the next nine years Kimberley had a number of accountancy jobs including five years with Mars Confectionary as, initially, Global Benefits Accountant and then Global Tax Analyst.

In 2014 she retrained as a foot health practitioner, and launched her own business, Blooming Beauty, to fit in with her young children.

But the accountancy itch had not gone away and, after a year as a mortgage adviser, Kimberley launched her new bookkeeping business last October.

While she says the coronavirus pandemic has been “horrendous” Kimberley does believe some positives could emerge.

She said: “I do think there will be a big reset button.

“I hope employers will be more open to flexible working, the childcare needs of their staff and also the question of working remotely.

“On a personal level it’s made me realise how I’ve rushed around all my life.

“I like having a family dinner now and also really enjoy my weekends.

“It’s so important, especially when your children are young.”