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Meet the Team - Mandy Ferguson

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Meet the Team - Mandy Ferguson

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In the latest of our Meet the Team series, I took time to chat to Mandy Ferguson, one of our Chartered Accountants here at Momentum Group to discuss life inside and out of the office.

How did you end up working in R&D Tax Credits?
I’ll be honest, previous to coming to Momentum I hadn’t heard of R&D tax credits so I’ve learnt a lot over the past four years! The bulk of my experience previous to this was in banking. I qualified as a chartered accountant in Edinburgh and spent 13 years working there before moving back to NI and taking a role with Ulster Bank. Edinburgh is a fantastic city and I have many happy memories of my time there, I try to go back to visit friends when I can. I was a Head of Finance at Ulster Bank and I really enjoyed my time there; I had a very interesting and challenging role, and the people were great. But after having my two children I felt I needed more flexibility in my working life and decided to take a step in a different direction. The position at Momentum came up at just the right time – and I’m grateful for the flexibility that Momentum has shown me. Being able to work reduced hours has allowed me to spend time with my kids when they are young, that I otherwise might not have had.

What is the most fulfilling part of your role at Momentum?
Helping the client and getting positive feedback from them. Some clients are initially sceptical as to how R&D tax credits work but once they have been through the process with Momentum, and generate cash for their business, they are delighted with the result. It’s satisfying for me to feel that I have helped a small business thrive and survive. Particularly in the current climate.

Why would you recommend R&D Tax Credits to a potential client?
R&D tax credits could be a potentially untapped source of income to a client – which would allow them to grow their business and invest in value-add projects. In these current times, this cashflow could even help keep their business afloat. The process is straightforward for the client and shouldn’t be onerous – with a little bit of time and input, Momentum can then do the rest. Even if a client is feeling unsure about the process, it’s worth contacting us and investigating their options – they could end up being very happily surprised with the result.

What is the most important piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Many (many!) moons ago when I was in school, I worked in my local spar shop. The boss asked me to be his lottery girl which meant standing at the machine every Saturday and putting through people’s lottery tickets. Once day he came over to me and said “Mandy, what do fishermen do when they are not fishing?”. I sort of looked at him blankly and he said “Mending their nets”. His point being, don’t just stand there waiting for people to come and do their lottery; if you don’t have a customer, then you could be tidying up behind the counter, helping customers pack their bags, supporting the other staff on the tills. So this taught me at an early age to think about multi-tasking, being efficient with my time and working as a team. I certainly don’t miss the big green tabard though!

    What do you do when you are not at work?
    I’m a busy working mum, with two young kids (James aged 9, Grace aged 7) so getting some downtime as a family is really important. Spare time for myself can be hard to find sometimes! I love reading and I’m quite into crime thrillers. Also, I’ve been trying to get out walking more and I mainly listen to the “Feel Better Live More” podcast with Dr Rangan Chatterjee. I find his guests really interesting – in the one I was listening to recently he had a conversation with a 93-year-old lady who survived Auschwitz, it was a really inspiring story. Other than that, I dabble in yoga, sometimes get out for a run, and I love a good glass of Merlot for a treat!

    If you were able to tell your 18 year old self one thing, what would you say?
    Gosh this is a tricky one! I would tell myself to stop over thinking everything, that life works out as it should and me worrying about it won’t change that.

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