AccountingWEB spoke to Alex Falcon of Soaring Falcon Accountancy about her journey into practice and her desire to forge her own unique space within accountancy.
Alex Falcon Huerta answers her phone cheerfully. On first impression, she doesn’t strike you as being particularly militant. But behind her affable demeanour, she is one of the cloud’s most ardent disciples. Her practice is 100% cloud based and as a young woman she’s a unique entrant into practice ownership.
Falcon’s practice opened its doors in April this year. “I started setting up my practice in September/October time and put the plans in place and tested products and systems,” she says. “I could have done it in a quicker time – but I wanted to make sure that I was using the right products.”
It’s a journey she’s glad that she undertook. In fact, she says, it was something she needed to do. “Working for another firm not really interested in moving with the times wasn’t a possibility for me. I wanted to do it three years ago. I found that old school accountants just weren’t interested in fully embracing new technology, or making life easier.”
Since breaking ground, her practice has grown steadily. She recently added her first employee, a trainee. “I’ve already doubled in size,” she notes wryly. Falcon decided on a trainee because she “didn’t want to hire someone who had experience in another practice”. “I wanted someone who was keen and wanted to learn my way of doing things.”
She hasn’t abandoned the traditional tenets of accountancy, though. When it comes to training, Falcon is an arch-traditionalist. She is ACCA qualified and she wouldn’t trade her qualification for anything. “I value my experience and my qualification equally. You get a lot more insight by being qualified than just having the experience,” she says. “There are things I’ve come across where if I hadn’t done my exams, I probably wouldn’t have known how to deal with it. But because I was prepared, it made the challenges I faced significantly less scary.”
Technological innovation has not eroded the need for solid accounting fundamentals, says Falcon. But it has given her a chance mould a practice as unique as her name. “It’s given young accountants a really good opportunity to offer something really different. Whereas before, you were offering the same sort of services and you weren’t really a niche or something different. It was very hard stand out among the other bigger sized practices.”
Blazing your own trail also meant deeper job satisfaction for Falcon, a chance “to be based anywhere… to work from home” or “on the train”. “I enjoy what I do,” she says, stopping briefly to consider her own statement before continuing. “So many people are in jobs that they hate. I can’t imagine going to work and not enjoying my job and being miserable. I’d just much rather do what I do and enjoy it.”
It’s clear she has absolutely no regrets. And even if she did, things have gone too far now. “I think once you’ve made your mind about how a practice should run, and then you actually set up your own practice, it would be really hard to go to another firm and mould into something that doesn’t feel quite right.”
She laughs, “I wish I had done it earlier”.
About Francois Badenhorst
Francois is a writer, editor and broadcaster specialising in business.