Skip to main content

Cecile Bonino-Liti (CB), Principal, Global Engagement at IFAC, spoke with Heather Smith (HS), a colourful and inspiring "accounting apps hype girl," founder of ANISE Consulting, YouTuber and 100% digital practice owner/nomad, who makes being a modern accountant look easy.

Heather Smith

CB: This year's International Women's Day theme is "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality". Describe how digitalization has empowered you?

HS: Digitalization enables me space for lifelong learning, thinking, creating and working on exciting projects with people worldwide. I host the Cloud Stories podcast, and through that digital platform, I've met and had conversations with industry leaders whom I may otherwise not have had the opportunity to. Through online networks, including the Xero Mastermind group I founded, I've connected with other like-minded individuals and groups, enhancing my professional and social support networks.

CB: You're both a CA ANZ and ACCA qualified accountant. How has accountancy education helped you to reach your goal(s)?

HS: At an early age, I realized accounting was an international language, and my education has allowed me to travel the world, helping small businesses and, in turn, their community. By age thirty, I'd lived and worked across four continents. As a digital nomad, I work 100% remotely and travel extensively, speaking at conferences worldwide. My practice fits in my lovely Italian leather handbag. I can be anywhere, and my clients can be anywhere.

CB: You are wearing several hats, including mentoring. Why is mentoring other women important to you?

HS: Often, there's a gender imbalance on the accounting conference stage. I actively collaborate with organizers to source and nurture diverse female speakers. Mentoring other women is essential to me because they have a unique perspective, and it helps to promote diversity and inclusivity in the accounting industry. I've always been keen to share insights of my lived experience, particularly if it can help a mentee's career trajectory. I've been actively doing this throughout my career, and tables have turned and I'm grateful that some mentees are now offer me exciting opportunities.

CB: Who or what inspires you?

HS: People who lead with kindness, work hard and embrace integrity.

CB: What is your "superpower"?

HS: The Japanese have a concept called Ikigai which refers to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living. I love writing. I love Accounting and AccounTech. I gratefully sit at the Ikigai inflection point, where my profession, passion, vocation, and mission intersect. I use my superpower of explanation to educate the profession about technology and modern accounting practices. I do this through many channels, including ACCA and CA ANZ educational programmes, social media, and writing, including my latest book Xero for Dummies.

CB: You are also a woman with passions. What does work-life balance look like to you? How do you maintain it? How do you strike a work-life balance? 

HS: Find something you love, and you will never work a day in your life! I do what I call worcations: mixing work with vacations, so when I travel to work events, I take extra long vacations. I’m lined up to speak about accounting at conferences across Australia, USA and Asia this year, so I have a fantastic year ahead. On a daily basis, Chester, my border collie, is an engaging and chaotic companion who demands long walks in the morning and encourages me to take mini breaks during the day.

CB: What is your advice for young professionals, or women looking for a career change, who are considering a career in the accountancy profession?

HS: Accounting offers many interesting and diverse careers, and the freedom to work remotely while being well-paid is a bonus! If you’re considering a career change, look at the accounting apps that service the industries you're familiar with, learn them, and connect to businesses that service the niche industry so that you can enter the profession with your specialist knowledge.

CB: What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

HS: After learning the hard way, I lead with kindness and embrace firm personal and professional boundaries. If a toxic person or situation makes you uncomfortable, seek help. Friends, doctors, or professional associations may have resources to assist and support you. Likewise, If you see someone bullied, reach out to them.

Disclaimer : The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of IFAC or SSBs.

Interested in being featured?
Heather Smith
Heather Smith

Heather Smith sits at the intersection of accounting, education and content creation. She educates the accounting community to positively embrace Accounting Apps. Or as she refers to them, ‘her robots’. Heather shares her love for Accounting Apps, learnings and observations of the accounting industry through content creation. Heather hosts an accounting technology podcast called Cloud Stories, curates an Accounting Apps newsletter, is a columnist with Acuity magazine, and is the author of ten books including Xero for Dummies.

Heather has run a virtual micro-management accounting practice since the early 2000’s. Leveraging her accounting qualification as a global passport, she work with clients across the world, and travel extensively speaking at accounting conferences. She's obsessed with how effective automation and integration can unlock and produce timely clean quality data, to surface information for fast informed analysis and decision making. Heather is an Ambassador for Innovation for the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand CACatalyst initiative, helping to develop and deliver education programs for modernising SMPs. She's also a host of ACCA’s The Practice Room initiative dedicated to supporting SMPs as well as a member of the ACCA SME and Technology forum.

Cecile Bonino
Cecile Bonino

Principal, Global Engagement

Cecile Bonino is Principal of Global Engagement for IFAC. She bridges global organizations' relationship management, policy support, event management, and brand awareness. A lawyer by education, Cecile has 20 years of experience in public affairs and public relations. Before joining IFAC, Cecile worked for 13 years at ACCA, where she headed EU Affairs and the ACCA Brussels office, working with European decision and policymakers, Media and key influencers, as well as global organizations. Prior to this, Cécile worked as a consultant in financial services, energy, environment, and climate change at Weber Shandwick and as Environment and Legal Affairs adviser at the European Landowners Organisation. At the beginning of her career, Cécile also worked at the DG TRADE of the European Commission, the DG Development of the College of Europe, and the law firm, Gide Loyrette Nouel. In 2012, Cécile won the ‘Public Affairs Professional of the Year’ prize at the European Public Affairs Awards.