Interview: Finance careers and insight
Posted by |In At the Office |
This is an interview from Lee Thornton, Financial Reporting Manager, Sodexo Transversal Functions
What do you enjoy most about working for Sodexo?
Aside from the obvious benefits and the variety working for a global business brings, Sodexo is a business where people matter.
What do you enjoy most about working in Finance?
As a qualified accountant, working in a Finance function provides many varied opportunities – In my career so far I’ve had various different roles… working with Purchasing functions in Retail, reporting on the integration of two major Travel firms, working with software designers who build the programme guides you see on your TV / Satellite box, to working in Shared Services and FP&A here at Sodexo.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into Finance?
Be prepared to study hard and work hard… but for those that do, its up to you how far you go. Whilst its true a lot of people in Finance will train to achieve ‘chartered’ status, this isn’t an absolute requirement if you have the right mindset and behaviours – you can still do well in Finance based on ‘merit’.
Whats the best career advice you have received?
A commercial director I once worked for told me “If you know it’s the right thing to do, be brave enough to do it…” – it might seem a little maverick, but the message was about not being afraid to push, challenge, and persevere,.
How did you start your career in Finance?
I actually started out in banking when I left school. But as I studied for my Institute of Banking exams I discovered an interest in how ‘numbers’ are central to how a business works, and so went first to University and then into industry to retrain as an accountant.
If you could have a different job, any job, what would it be?
An Architect… able to design my own home and with the contacts to get it built at a good price (I guess you can’t completely take the Accountant out of me).
What are the challenges of working in Finance?
Deadlines and Complexity – like other disciplines, we have certain deadlines that have to be met… fine when things go to plan, but it can mean long hours when they don’t. Also, a lot of Finance is an ‘art’ rather than a ‘science’ – we have a lot of “guidelines”, so the challenge (other than trying to remember them all) is in interpreting how to apply them to many scenarios, especially when the decision may not be ‘black or white’.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Not sure I’ve had one of those in Finance! Sure, we know we have certain deliverables like Month End close & Audit, but a lot of the time is spent on business support, information provision & query resolution – so each day can be very different.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Relax! I’m an avid music “fan”, and have a large music collection to keep me going if theres no interesting concert’s on. I also enjoy the outdoors (weather allowing), and have done a fair bit of travelling prior to working at Sodexo. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit every continent including Antarctica, but that’s not to say I don’t have a long list of places I’d like to visit (as well as go back to).