Submitted by Catherine Dhanjal
| on Sun, 03/08/2020 - 19:45 | In Tax planning and pensions
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I’m reflecting on why financial independence and empowerment for women is so important for the world economy.
As a firm we were amongst the first to sign the HMRC’s Women in Finance charter, in 2016. This demonstrates our commitment to ensure that men and women in our company are treated equally in terms of recruitment, mentoring, career development and promotion.
Our senior managers are professionally qualified staff women at associate director level and above, and we are keen to retain Sestini & Co as a female-run business to provide clients and potential clients with an alternative to male-led accountancy firms.
In the developing world, women own around 8-10 million formal small and medium enterprises but 80% of women-owned small businesses are unable to access the credit that they need, says charity Lend With Care.
Organisations including the United Nations are working to empower women in the economy and to close gender gaps in the world of work, essential to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. As well as helping to achieve the goals for gender equality, to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all, empowering women can also help to end poverty, ensure food security and health.
Financial independence and empowerment give women choices in terms of lifestyle and career, and help give them the power to move on from financially or otherwise abusive relationships.
Ensuring women have a good understanding of how their personal finances and commitments such as mortgages and pensions work will ensure that they can make long term plans which best suit their circumstances, which are likely to provide the best deal or return, and to be able to make decisions on their own or with their partner.
Women live longer than men, often on their own after their male partners have died, and ensuring they have financial literacy will ease the stress around financially significant life events, such as children going to university or getting married, moving home, care home fees, or dealing with probate.
Embedding financial skills from an early age can help make it part of daily life and schools are increasingly including money management classes as part of their teaching programme. There’s a useful guide aimed professionals working with teenagers at available from the Money Advice Service.
Financial literacy is particularly important with lenders such as pay day loans, credit and store cards, and online credit lines generally being available from age 18 upwards. Online help aimed at parents and teenagers is also available from organisations such as MoneySavingExpert and Moneywise.
Some of the newer banks have tools which help to empower users, such as Starling Bank with its ‘spaces’ – different pots in the app where you can triage money for petrol, groceries and going out, for example. Many high street and online-only banks also now offer a breakdown of spending per month or year, allowing you to see the stores where you spend the most money; or a breakdown of where your spending goes, in categories such as entertainment and eating out.
For women in work, support networks can help. As well as being signatories to the Women in Finance charter, we are also members of E2W, a network supporting women in financial services; Gendersmart, an initiative to help unlock barriers to deploying capital in a gender-smart way; and Women Ahead/Moving Ahead, organisations which aim to improve workplace inclusion and diversity.
How we can help
One of our strengths at Sestini & Co is that although we dedicate considerable time and expertise to keeping up with changing case law and ensuring we know the tax rules, we are able to discuss the implications of those on your finances in a clear way, without jargon.
If you need help with any tax-related issues and would like to speak to us, give us a call on 01761 241 861 or email us today.
We will be pleased to advise you or to invite you into our offices in Paulton, near Bristol and Bath, for a consultation.