It’s one reason I quit being a finance director at the age of 40.
I worked in public finance jobs for 19 years and writing was my favourite part of the work. In my 20s I had jobs in accounting, internal and external auditing and I wrote quite a lot of reports. As I was prompted to more senior roles I would write less and less.
Management jobs are more about reviewing and approving other people’s writing than writing anything yourself. I hated that. I was frustrated partly by my lack of a creative outlet and partly, if I am honest, that what my colleagues wrote was not what I would write. It is this experience that underpins my constant posting on LinkedIn about the need for accountants and auditors to improve their writingskills.
I found other ways to write. I took a master’s degree in 2002 to 2005 and that gave me the chance to write essays and I enjoyed doing them very much.
Then, in 2005-6 I wrote a novel. A complete novel. It was set in local government and was called Power, Corruption and Lies. I sent it to about 25 publishers without any success.
Instead, I wrote a pitch for a public financial management textbook in 2009 and that led to Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector being published in 2011, and its 3rd edition was published in March 2023.
My career since 2005 has involved a lot more writing than if I carried on as a finance director. As well as my books, I’ve written reports, articles, contracts, training courses, and lots more. I must have written millions of words about money and, whilst I am still proud to be a CIPFA accountant, I now think of myself as a professional writer about public financial management.