How have you arrived at your current role as finance manager at Brightsolid?
I left school at 18 and started a 5-year ICAS direct-entry CA programme with a local accountancy firm. I worked in audit and accounts during that time and was a qualified Chartered Accountant at the end of the five years.
I then worked in Corporate Finance at another firm for 18 months and then moved across into Industry, and here I am, a year in the job at Brightsolid as finance manager.
This is my first time working in the IT/Tech sector, and while accounting is accounting to some extent, knowing your industry is essential. I’ve asked plenty of daft questions and still do when it comes to technology!
What are your responsibilities as a finance manager at Brightsolid, and how do these responsibilities contribute to the financial health and success of the company?
The goal of a finance manager is to help maximise the company’s financial performance and ultimately be a safe pair of hands.
Regarding day-to-day responsibilities that can involve P&L and cash forecasting, preparing budgets, reporting through monthly management accounts and KPIs and providing financial input into business cases.
The biggest challenge is budgeting and forecasting in a high-paced tech environment where things can quickly change. It’s essential to communicate proactively across all departments to get the complete picture.
How does the finance team collaborate with other departments within Brightsolid to ensure that financial strategies align with overall business goals?
We try to communicate regularly in person or via calls and be as open and approachable as possible. I feel we have good working relationships across departments within Brightsolid.
Working in finance, there will be times when you need to deliver some bad news. And it’s much easier for someone to hear that in person, whether on a Teams call or face to face. Some finance departments can be a bit closed-off, but it is best to be approachable and transparent. A bit more human!
Are there any individuals, role models, or mentors who have significantly impacted your career or personal development? If so, what lessons have you learned from them?
I always try to take positive bits away from people I’ve worked with, whether that is a boss or even going back to teachers at school.
The best lessons I’ve learned are probably simple ones:
- Work hard.
- Be respectful of others.
- Don’t think you know it all because you never do.
It’s good advice that I got from a teacher—so stuck with me.
Beyond finance, what are some of your passions or hobbies in your free time?
Mainly playing and watching football. I play amateur football on Saturday mornings and have a season ticket at Tannadice to watch my beloved Dundee United!
Outside of football, I like to keep fit generally by going to the gym and running. I also have two hyperactive Cocker spaniels that keep me busy.
What personal aspirations or goals do you hope to achieve in your career or private life?
Personal aspirations are simple ones: to be happy and try and be better every day. Being in a good routine works for me and trying to surround myself with the right people.
Career-wise, I want to continue to progress in my development and be the best I can be.
What advice would you give to aspiring finance professionals or those looking to succeed in finance management roles?
My main advice is to get experience working within different areas of accountancy if you can, so you get a good range of experience and can help you decide which area you want to work in.
Aside from that, my advice would be simple – work hard and you’ll get the rewards and ask plenty of questions!
What is your guilty pleasure?
My head is always in the biscuit cupboard when working from home. Whenever I get up from my desk, I end up there. It doesn’t matter what kind of biscuit. I like them all!