International Women's Day Feature: Sandra Wallace
TSG is celebrating International Women’s Day all week, and we’re putting some of our top women in tech in the spotlight.
We’re featuring 5 key women at TSG and we’ve asked them about how they got into the technology sector, who influenced them growing up and their thoughts on increasing the representation of women in technology.
Today’s interview is with TSG’s Sage Support Consultant Sandra Wallace. Before coming to TSG and working on Sage, Sandra was a Management Accountant and worked for 10 years in accounts practice.
After moving on and deciding that the sheet metal industry she was working in wasn’t the right fit for her, Sandra bravely quit her job to look for something more suitable.
Sandra calls her current career at TSG a ‘happy accident’; a friend recommended the role and despite having no formal Sage qualifications, Sandra was successfully appointed as a Sage Support Consultant. Sandra had the knowledge and skills associated with Sage software as a user, and was able to bring these skills to the role of Sage Support Consultant, having been in the same role as the customers she now helps.
Sandra completed a number of Sage qualifications as part of her new role, and now supports TSG customers across the country remotely, solving Sage software issues, answering queries and providing training where required.
What was your first job?
Accounts Assistant. I left school on a Friday and started an apprenticeship on the Monday in a small accountancy firm to build experience while I studied for the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Playing the piano. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but not found the time to do it yet.
Who’s someone you really admire?
I’m very fortunate to work with a lot of great people at TSG so I don’t think I could choose just one.
Who had the most influence on you growing up?
My parents. Their life choices showed me the type of person I did not want to be and because of that, I was more determined to be the best me I could be.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.
A friend who worked at TSG told me about a Sage 200 vacancy, I was working as a Management Accountant at the time and without prior Sage 200/technical experience I was successful in my application, and the rest as they say is history.
TSG is a great place to work as it means I can work full time to build a successful career AND be flexible for my two little girls; it doesn’t have to be a choice. TSG understands a good home/work balance is important, and I am supported with my family needs.
How can we improve the representation of women in tech?
Continue to employ, encourage, train, invest and promote our female staff.
What does a typical day at TSG look like for you?
Is there such a thing as a typical day on the support desk? For the most part I provide telephone/remote support to our customers with queries or issues relating to Sage products and other add-on software. However, no two days are the same, one day I could be performing project work, the next writing user guides or investigating missing postings. I sometimes joke that I am a Sage detective – a really cool one obviously.
What will be the number 1 technology trend in 2018 and why?
Upgrades to Sage 200cloud Professional. This version offers some fantastic features some users have requested for some time, including error corrections, hiding accounts and invoicing. Also, with the decommissioning of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) this will be the earliest version with the ability to connect to the new HMRC service to submit data via Sage.
What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make it in the technology sector or succeed in business in general?
You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Passion is the most important tool to succeeding in business, if you are passionate about what you do there is no limit where it will take you.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What is your differentiator in the business world?
My main objective is to resolve client issues efficiently and in an encouraging way. Some customers can be reluctant to ask questions or be worried they should already know the answers to their problems. I truly believe there is no such thing as a “silly question”, the only wrong question is the one you didn’t ask. Every question/problem is an opportunity to learn more. I am lucky to have come from an accounting background which often helps me to understand processing and customer requirements.
You’ve been successful in business, what has motivated you to get to this point?
A love of learning, job satisfaction and the desire to continually improve. After all, if you’re not moving forward, you’re standing still.
Tell me something that's true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There are no problems, only solutions. Of course, issues arise but dwelling on them will not overcome them, focus your energy on resolutions with a positive mentality to make the journey a little easier; you may even find a way of preventing reoccurrences or making efficiencies along the way.
What has been the main barrier or opposition you have found being a woman in tech?
Thankfully I haven’t encountered any difficulties being a woman in tech, having a good support network at TSG really helps and if I did have any problems I am positive my colleagues would assist in finding a solution.