Women shaking up the profession: Francesca Tricaricoby
AccountingWEB interviews Future Cloud owner Fran Tricarico about going it alone and how social media has helped her to build a community of clients and fellow accountants.
Founded in 2019 by Fran and her business partner Charlotte, Future Cloud Accounting is a tech-forward firm focused on customer experience, innovation, and communication. The pair put their passion for small business at the forefront of all that they do and have built a fantastic team around them to deliver on their vision.
Using social media to share the highs and lows of day-to-day life as a mother, business owner and accountant, Fran has built a reputation in the industry as a down-to-earth character, always ready to speak her mind. AccountingWEB caught up with Fran to discuss her journey so far and what drives her to keep going.
Q: You didn’t start off as an accountant – what made you make that move to go back to college?
I had kids quite young, and always knew I wanted to go back to work. When my son was two, despite the fact he was in his “terrible twos” phase, I knew I wanted to do more with my life. I had friends and family telling me I’d find the right man to look after us, but I didn’t want to rely on anyone.
I was working at a dental surgery at the time as a receptionist but was always super interested in the numbers and business side of things. I mentioned I was thinking about going to college to study for AAT and my boss said ‘go for it. Thank God she did.
Q: So from there, how did you and Charlotte start your own firm?
After getting my degree I landed my dream role in practice at a top 30 firm. It took two attempts but I knew they'd take me as soon as I had the interview because I was so passionate. I asked so many questions – I was so keen to catch up because I started at 28. I worked hard and then decided to push myself to start networking.
There was a girl that went from my office who was super quiet and I thought, if she can go, I can go. But a lot of networking was quite forced and overly professional, and I feel like people do more business when they’re social so in 2016, I started my own informal networking.
In 2018, Charlotte came along to my event. We started talking about the digital journey we were both on and what we wanted to achieve. We had so many ideas that we decided just to team up and give it a go.
Q: What was the hardest part of making that transition to going it alone?
I thought the biggest challenge was getting clients but actually, I knew a lot of people in the area so that was easy. The actual challenge was wearing the hoodies, being different – and quoting right. Luckily I had quite a bit of experience and knowledge on being different and standing out.
The first six months were tough though. I had a constant buzz and I looked like I was having the time of my life on social media but was completely exhausted. It was hard to keep up.
Q: In your experience, what are the most important aspects of building a practice built for growth?
Systems, systems, systems. Charlotte has an eye for detail and was on top of that from the start so that nothing was missed. It just makes it so much easier when new people start and new clients come on board. I see older firms implementing new systems and processes now and, whilst it can be done, it’s much easier to do it from the start.
Q: Personal brand is huge for you and you are well known for your DJ Fran videos through lockdown and chair slides – do you remember the first video you posted and what made you do it?
It was the weekend before Charlotte and I launched the business and I just filmed a video in my kitchen just letting people know who I was and what our plans were. No one knew who I was but I just thought I'd put myself out there.
A week later, I came back on and updated people on what I'd done and just kept going from there. Since then I've done all sorts of things like headstand challenges, squat challenges, learnt to do a Rubix cube in six weeks – it sounds crazy when I say that but I got clients from it! They liked how informal and direct we were, but that we replied quickly, explained things simply and sorted everything out.
For anyone starting out posting videos, I'd say put out an introductory one about who you are, what you do, why you’re on LinkedIn and go from there. Speak plain English, you can still charge the right amount, but business owners want to focus on their business, not trying to understand accounting jargon.
Q: How do you encourage team members to get involved and develop their skills?
Just start by getting everyone together and getting on top of culture. Don’t think you’re too busy and haven’t got time to have a jolly. Just get on and do it. Get people in to help with mental health and find a leader to help with the areas needed.
Q: Have there been any lightbulb moments in your career that you’d be able to share?
I had one last week with Charlotte! It’s a bit of a crazy idea and might take a year or so to happen – it’s not even to do with accounting, keep your eyes peeled!
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Kayleigh began her career in corporate and commercial banking, before working at an alternative lender and most recently joined the partnerships team at Capitalise, a fintech adviser-led funding platform, designed to empower accountants to help their clients discover and access the funding they need to succeed.