ON 1 April 2014, Catherine Dymond was announced as the newest Partner at Exeter accountancy firm Bush & Co, joining the experienced team of Roger Carne, Ian Powell, Norman Bamber and Sunny Truran. Founded in 1955, Bush & Co prides itself on not only employing the most talented staff, but in turn nurturing them, developing their skills and ensuring they enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
Having stepped onto the career ladder at the age of 18, Catherine is a prime example of how success can be achieved through the traditional path of on-the-job training and experience rather than via the university degree route, now perceived the norm for the large majority of school and college leavers.
Catherine recalls, "I didn't know what I wanted to do when I left school. I had studied Mathematics, Biology and Sociology A-Levels, and I didn't want to do a degree for the sake of it. So when I saw a job advertised in the Herald Express for an accounts junior at Bishop Fleming in their Paignton office I saw my opportunity and grabbed it."
In August 1996 Catherine started training for the internationally recognised AAT qualification, which meant she gained real-world accounting knowledge that could be put to use from day one. This three-year training programme provided Catherine with a thorough grounding in all aspects of working in an accountancy firm, from administration tasks to accountancy work.
Having successfully completed her AAT qualifications at the age of just 21, Catherine set her sights on a move from the Paignton branch to the bright lights of the city, working in the Exeter office. A year later Catherine also came to live in the city and has never looked back.
She says: "I love living in Exeter and have seen it blossom over the last few years into a cosmopolitan city, but with all the delights of the surrounding coast and countryside, and not to mention easy access to London and further afield with the convenience of Exeter Airport. The city continues to grow from strength to strength, now with John Lewis, Waitrose, Exeter Sky Park, Ikea on its way, the Rugby World Cup in 2015 as well as the exciting plans the Cathedral has for Roman Baths. There are also a growing number of fabulous places to eat out and a vibrant arts scene.
Over the next few years Catherine continued to study and work hard, resulting in her becoming ACCA qualified at the age of 24, at which point she took on a portfolio of clients. She says "The beauty of accountancy is that you can start straight out of school, build up six or seven years' worth of training and work experience and get paid while doing so, rather than building up major student debts. I would never say to young people not to go to university, but that there are other attractive career opportunities out there that can be explored as well."
At the age of 30 and having reached management level, Catherine developed a case of wanderlust and so decided to hand in her notice. In search of a complete change of scene, she spent three wonderful months taking in the delights of Australia, although never considered a permanent move out of the UK. Soon, the lure of Exeter brought her back home and a serendipitous job opportunity arose at Bush & Co, just yards from where she used to work.
Catherine joined Bush & Co in 2008 and is grateful for the ongoing support she continues to receive, saying "The mentoring I have been given by the Bush & Co Partners, and in particular Roger Carne who hired me, has meant that I have been able to realize my dream of becoming Partner at this very friendly, people-focused firm."
When asked what Catherine will bring to the team, Roger Carne told the Express and Echo: "The role of an accountant should be to work closely with their clients to help them achieve their business objectives. Catherine has an analytical mind and a great personality which enables her to deliver such a service. A partnership at Bush & Co is appropriate recognition of her contribution to our business and we look forward to working alongside her for many years."
Not one to rest on her laurels, Catherine continues to push herself in terms of her professional development and has recently qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor. Catherine also successfully undertook the ICAEW Pathways programme in May 2014 to gain membership as a Chartered Accountant alongside her original Chartered Certified qualification.
Catherine works with a range of SMEs and owner managed businesses and has gained an in-depth understanding of the needs of her clients. In her new role as Partner, she looks forward to offering the same level of mentoring and support she has gained during her time at Bush & Co. Catherine promises to maintain the firm's ethos and traditional values, however she also hopes to add her personal touch, saying, "I look forward to being able to use all that I have learned to help the firm grow in a sustainable and ethical manner."