LIFE & LIVING
Fiona Hotston Moore
Rachel Gilbert catches up with Fiona, who was supposed to be exploring Patagonia in 2020 before the pandemic put a halt to her plans. Instead, she is in Norwich, working her day job as a forensic accountant.
Accounting is stereotyped as a somewhat dull profession, but Fiona has found an interesting niche and forged it into a very successful 30-year career.
As a forensic accountant, she handles cases involving disputes over money — divorce, business separation, fraud and money laundering to name a few. She pays close attention to every detail with the assumption that any case could end up in court.
With such a high-powered job, Fiona balances this out with a highly active free time to match. She has completed the notorious Wells Triathlon, National Three Peaks 24 hour challenge and zipwired off the roof of Ipswich Hospital. “I have vertigo, so that was quite a crazy challenge for me,” Fiona chuckled.
Most of her traveling and challenges are completed with her family, but a few years ago, Fiona embarked on a solo trip to explore Shanghai. She said the experience was really challenging and scary but empowering. She is now planning a trip to the Antarctic for next year.
Balancing everything hasn’t always come easy. Fiona found herself fielding negative comments, often about not being a full time mother when her children were young. However she said some of the best advice she received came early from a midwife. “The dust will be there long after the children leave,” she said. “Forget about the housework and enjoy your time with them.”
This wasn’t her only challenge, however. The workforce in the accounting field is made up of a disproportionate amount of men. Occasionally, she will walk into a meeting and there will be a perception that Fiona will be taking notes or making the coffee as the only woman in the room.
The solution to this, Fiona said, was to put herself forward and push herself. “It is important to chase goals and to find good mentors. We don’t think we can have it all — balancing a family, career and personal life. Women won’t apply for a job unless they have 90% of the required skills, where a man will apply with only 20%.”
A former boss of Fiona’s was a great supporter — pushing her to be her best. He could be brutally honest, she said, but that was important for her development.
Although her children aren’t following in her footsteps into the accounting field, Fiona is encouraging them to be confident and happy — the same advice she would give to her teenage self. “It matters more to me that they are happy and kind to others,” she said. “I try to encourage my daughter to be outgoing and active, as I was never really pushed into sports.”
Being kind and outgoing is definitely in Fiona’s wheelhouse. For the last five years, she has volunteered her time for the Samaritans, a charity that supports people in emotional distress or at risk of suicide in the UK.
It is a change of pace from her day job where she talks a lot and gives instructions instead of acting as a listener. She also works as a support officer to local prisons, helping train and rehabilitate prisoners to support and listen to each other.
“I am very passionate about the Samaritans,” Fiona said. “It is a privilege to help, having been helped myself at a low point, it is an honour to take calls.”
Although balancing a high-powered job with stressful moments and such an active personal life, Fiona still finds the time to plan for even bigger goals, and run a very active Twitter account (Seasons Tweetings Christmas jumper series is highly recommended)!
Next year, she would like to get back into the world of triathlon in addition to her trip to the Antarctic with her family. Additionally, she has a new role as partner within the FRP advisory firm. The hectic schedule does not, however, stop Fiona from being bubbly, outgoing and full of smiles.
Fiona advises us all that “It is important to put yourself out there, push yourself and be ambitious.”