Five Minutes With . . . Julie Owen

Five Minutes With . . . Julie Owen

Julie Owen is the owner of Jigsaw Business Management Services Ltd – a role she has held for the past seven years.
1. Describe your current job, in one sentence.
I run a small team based in Wellington which offers complex business management services for small and large companies, having set up the firm myself in 2007.
2. What is your proudest achievement?
I have previously worked with FTSE 100 companies and businesses across the West Midlands that have a turnover of more than £4million, but despite this my proudest achievement is the smaller companies I work with. Watching them grow and knowing that I have had a hand in helping them to increase turnover and reach their potential is a proud moment for me. It is a tough decision to come up with one single proudest achievement but certainly one of the contenders is Live Recruitment, based in Birmingham, which increased turnover by 40% in just 12 months when I started working with them.
Julie Owen

3. And the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome?

My most difficult challenge has been learning to delegate. I know every inch of my company and every aspect of the finances for each client. Since we have expanded I have taken on three employees because the work load was simply too much for me and despite making sure we only recruit top quality bookeepers and financial experts, to ensure we do not compromise on standards, I still find it difficult to let go of some work and delegate.
4. Explain some of the big issues in your industry right now?
With large companies and well known individuals being investigated over tax avoidance and schemes which seek out loop holes in the system, many smaller businesses are beginning to question their processes. Gary Barlow, Jimmy Carr, Starbucks and Amazon are just some of the recent examples of how important it is to know exactly what your financial manager is doing. This media furore over the issue has made everyone sit up and think about their own financial arrangements. Falling foul of HMRC can be a back breaking issue, especially for small companies.
5. What are the best, and worst aspects of your job?
The best aspect is making a difference to companies and meeting so many interesting individuals. It is such an honour to watch companies grow and learn more about different industries which I would otherwise be unaware of. As I have said, helping companies to increase profit is a huge boost for me and it is a great privilege to be able to help people to do what they love doing and remember the reasons they started their business instead of drowning in financial management that they do not understand. Meeting individuals and learning what drives them is a big part of this, everyone has a story to tell. The worst aspect is being on hold. I make a lot of calls to companies such as HMRC and the like – because of this I know the hold music for most companies off by heart.
6. What makes you smile, and what keeps you awake at night?
People may disagree but the thing that makes me smile is being handed shoeboxes full of receipts. I love to discover how people have decided (or not, as the case may be) to file paperwork before calling me in and I love to root through it all and put it into order – one of the biggest smiles I have is when I go back to a client with a clear set of reports on profit and loss, balance, creditors, debtors, and more. They are amazed that I managed to make sense of it. In a similar way, though, it is also the paperwork that keeps me up at night. I never seem to switch off from work, continuing to see early warnings of potential issues as businesses continue to grow.
7. How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
My colleagues would say I am determined, dedicated and hopefully they would say I am fair.

8. If you could go back 10 years, what would you do differently?
10 years ago I was working in corporate, with large businesses. The only thing I would do differently would be to jump ship earlier, to set up on my own and be bold enough to do it without concern or fear. I did it seven years ago and it was the best decision I have ever made – although I have no regrets, looking back now I would have done it sooner.

9. How do you chill out and relax after a busy day?
I find there is nothing more relaxing than an evening at a beautiful restaurant with good food and good company. A glass of wine with friends can relax you after even the most stressful of days.

10. Tell us something about you, that people probably wouldn’t know?
Many people would not know that I often have a dog in the office, it is my friends’ dog and I absolutely love having him around.