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From Excel to Axel: Accountant skates to world championship win

Trainee accountant Alice Williamson has taken home a trophy at the World Open Inline Figure Skating Championship. ​

12th Sep 2019
Close-up of roller skates
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For many accountants a ‘pivot’ is something said shortly before ‘table’. But for Alice WiIliamson, pivot is something she also performs on the on her skates.

In July, the trainee accountant took a break from her Chester-based firm Ellis & Co to successfully compete in the world-wide inline figure skating competition in Fasano, Italy.

The skating accountant lifted the winning trophy along with the rest of her all-female team of 10 in the synchronized adult free skating category.

The synchronised inline skating team perform in one unit to music and incorporate into their routine specific technical skating elements and dance steps.

From ice to inline skating

Williamson has worked at the Ellis & Co since 2015, but long before she was sent into a backspin preparing quarterly VAT returns and bookkeeping, she was doing the real thing first on the ice.

The number-crunching Jayne Torvil first fell for the crisp and cold air of the ice skating rink ten years ago. “I was introduced to ice skating when I went for my birthday, then I started taking lessons with one of my friends who was also keen,” she said.

Now 25, Williamson has since competed in international synchro competitions since 2011 and has taken podium places along the way. She’s also been in an ice dancing partnership with Rowan Wills for six years.

But last year she added to her skating repertoire by edging into inline figure skating. It’s a pivot that’s she’s found a little harder than ice. “The wheels don’t have edges, whereas the blades do, which I feel I’m more used to,” she said.

From inline skating to accountancy

There may seem little crossover between inline skating and accountancy. The two are seemingly separated by a common language: in one world FD is a job role, in the other it’s the scoring abbreviation for the free dance.

But for Williamson, there is surely one crossover: the training for skating success has instilled her with the dedication she needs as she continues her studies towards an ACCA qualification.

For someone who placed second in the British Synchronised Ice Skating Championships with her team mates, there is a lot of training involved. She takes to the Deeside ice rink twice a week for 90 minutes with her dance partner, and then she trains in synchro which includes one hour on the ice, and one hour off the ice.

Away from the ice, her main responsibilities include preparing limited company, sole trader and partnership accounts, in addition to preparing quarterly VAT returns and bookkeeping.

Ellis & Co has cheered on from the bleachers. “Huge congratulations to Alice’s recent success,” said Robert Ellis, director of Ellis & Co. “We wish her every success for her next competition.”

Coincidentally, Williamson’s next competition is in November at Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, London – a time when many clients may find themselves on thin ice if they don’t get their records in order before self assessment season puts accountants into a spin. 

The profession has its fair share of those who have balanced the numbers business with their sporting passion. Earlier this year, Josh Casey moonlighted from his day job in corporate tax to captain conference side Woking into the FA Cup third round.

Elsewhere, sporting heroes such as Irish golfer Pádraig Harrington, Winter Olympic double gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and body-slamming former WWE champion Hulk Hogan have all flirted with accountancy before achieving their sporting success.

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