Born in a small village near Vilnius in the 1930s, Aldona Mikalauskiene has witnessed first-hand some of Europe’s greatest upheavals, from the atrocities of the Second World War to difficulties and conflict under Soviet rule, to eventual independence for her small nation of Lithuania.
Through it all she has maintained a strong character and a sense of duty to her fellow citizens.
“Today we have many new freedoms,” she says. “Freedom to run businesses and to improve ourselves, to criticise and speak freely about our government, but we also have an obligation to use our freedoms and our talents to help each other. We are all one people, one society.”
From humble beginnings…
A farmer’s daughter from rural Ukmergė, Aldona went to school, was married and widowed, and then took up her studies again, distinguishing herself as an older student at university. Now a qualified accountant, she heads her own accountancy firm in the Lithuanian capital, training and employing young people, and helping a range of clients to succeed during tough financial times.
“I have spent the major part of my career working with upcoming professionals,” she says. “I provide apprenticeships and have trained numerous successful accountants.
Her clients are many and varied, from Chinese restaurants and car mechanics to women’s and children’s organisations, to big companies and manufacturers. “I enjoy my job and I find it particularly satisfying to see my group helping others to succeed,” she says, “whether small businesses, service providers or corporations making money for our economy.
“And why should I stop now? I have been around for a while, but I lead an active life and I think I still have something to contribute.”
Still in good form
“The work of accountancy always comes back to numbers,” Aldona explains, “and that means specialised knowledge and the right tools.”
A unique programme of IT training for older people, organised by the senior citizens’ group ‘LPS Bociai’ and co-funded by the EU through the European Social Fund, helped Aldona make fuller use of modern IT technologies for her business, improving her skills and bringing her up to speed on the latest computer equipment, programmes and networking services.
‘I spend a good part of my day out and about,” she says, “meeting clients, collecting and delivering documents and presentations and selling our services to prospective customers.” Then it’s back to the office where she collates and analyses results and figures.
“When I started out, we used those old-time adding machines, you know, with that big lever that swings down and goes ‘cha-ching’. We thought they were quite handy. My, how things have changed! There are so many new tools and technologies that can be extremely useful in accountancy.
“The computer courses allowed me to develop new skills and ultimately to do my work more efficiently,” she says. “The lessons were a real help.”