1. So, who are you anyway, and what do you do?
2. How did you get into this job?
Debbie Spooner - Member Success Specialist at The Gap.
The Gap works with accountants across the globe to help them achieve their true purpose -helping their clients achieve Time, Mind and Financial Freedom through the delivery of Business Development services.
I love what I do. Every day is spent working with great people, helping them to achieve their potential. In my role, I work closely with Gap Members to turn their ideas into actions and empower individuals to achieve their goals. We do this through regular one-on-one support sessions and monthly training webinars, where we share best practice and proven solutions.
Everything that we do is geared around building lasting relationships, helping everyone involved to reach their potential and beyond.
I am an advocate of living above the line, so when Mark shared that this is a mindset of The Gap, I was keen to learn more, and to be involved with them, sharing their message and values.
I have worked in the accounting software space since 2005, originally at Pegasus. In late 2009, Gary Turner asked me to join his team at Xero - just me and five guys split across the UK, working to disrupt the accounting space with Xero. I stayed until mid-2015, helping accountants, their teams, and clients navigate the changes that SaaS and cloud brings to the industry.
I then supported accountants to get their content and digital marketing in place as Operations and Client Manager with The Profitable Firm.
Prior to joining The Gap, my role was Customer Success Specialist for UK, USA and SA at Spotlight Reporting.
Moving into my role as the UK Member Success Specialist at The Gap was a natural and logical progression on many levels. It brings together many of the skills I’ve developed through working in this space for 10+ years, as well as my passion for helping accountants achieve their true purpose.
3. What song from your past still gets you moving today?
Ooooh tough one, too many to choose from. I am pretty much on the dancefloor all night! I do love Sugarhill Gang Rappers Delight ‘Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn!’ and Jam and Spoon Ride in the Night as they always evoke great memories for me.
4. If you could go to one concert from the past, what one would it be?
Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, or Live Aid, purely for the Queen set. For Elvis, something fabulous with a flower garland. For Live Aid - HI-TEC hi-top trainers, stone washed jeans and a ‘Frankie Says Relax’ T-shirt.
5. A socio-economic question, but feel free to answer from your gut. If AI, automation and robotics are going to replace repetitive and laborious tasks, what impact will this have on your industry and profession?
I think this change is already happening within the accounting profession. We are seeing tasks which used to take weeks now taking minutes or seconds. As a result the skills that are going to be prized more by the profession are the ability to form strong relationships with clients, and analysing the reports or accounts produced.
6. What other challenges face accountants, bookkeepers or SMEs today? And, how should they meet those challenges?
Hopefully it will bring us closer together as human beings and we will learn how to connect and communicate face to face instead of hiding behind emails, etc. It’s a good thing - as humans we need, and thrive on, the interaction with each other. Let’s connect and communicate more.
7. If around ⅓ of government revenue comes from payroll tax, how will society and government cope with a reduction in the number of repetitive and laborious jobs available? What will need to change?
It creates more opportunities, more artisans, artists, designers, architects. I doubt in my lifetime tech will replace or replicate human creativity and imagination. Humans are the builders and the tool makers, so as tech automates the repetitive and laborious jobs, it opens the opportunity for us to build more, share more, and connect more.
8. What other challenges face accountants, bookkeepers or SMEs today? And, how should they meet those challenges?
Don’t fear change. Change is part of life, so flow and move with it as opposed to resisting it. Work to empower all members of the team and help them to feel their input is valuable and vital. Change relationships from being transactional to being empowering and liberating, to achieve beyond what was thought possible.
Use tech for what will best serve you and your clients.
Also, stop comparing. Everyone is on different stages of the journey, so know what your vision is and build a plan to get there. Be inspired by others and have good people around you, supporting you to build the business you envisaged. Ultimately, embrace and share the uniqueness of you. Your business, team, and clients will flourish with you.
9. I don’t know about you, but I need a drink after that. If you could buy anyone a drink in a bar and chat to them about anything, who would it be, what would you drink, and what would you talk about?
The Dalai Lama, I think he would appreciate a good cup of tea. I would want to know about his life in Tibet as a small boy, and how he and his family dealt with him being recognised as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. I’d like to hear his laugh, look into those mischievous eyes and just sit in his energy, listening to him talk on all manner of things.
10. And after you had that wee drink, if you could walk up to anyone, kick them in the shins and shout something at them, who would it be, and what would you shout? Go on...get it off your chest!
Oh, I dunno… possibly sensationalist news reporters who make a living out of stirring the pot and gossip tabloids which don’t give anything of value…
11. What advice would you give to yourself at age 18?
Don’t dim your light or change who you are for anyone. Be true to you, don’t try to fit in to please others, the world will adapt with and for you.
12. If you could retire now, what would you do? Or not do?
I will be living in my house in France with my Hubby, practising Yoga daily on my roof terrace, swimming in the sea, drinking wine, and having long lunches.
13. What do you want to achieve that you haven’t as yet?
I’m excited about what we’re creating at The Gap to help accountants develop themselves, and change the way they work with clients, helping small businesses grow through stronger relationships and understanding.
In my personal life, I am about to complete my VTCT Massage Therapy course and will then go on to complete Hot Stone Therapy and Yoga Therapy, so that will be exciting.
I would also like to see a Polar Bear in the wild...
14. What’s next for you, and your business?
Keep having fun. Working and spending time with great people, helping people to achieve their version of success and changing lives.