A conversation with...
What did you do prior to joining Birmingham Airport?
I started my Accountancy career at a company called PKF in central Birmingham where I worked in the Audit Department but I soon decided that I wasn’t cut out to be an Auditor! I found it a little on the boring side and would rather be the one facing the Audit inquisition so I left to join the Finance team at Eversheds which is a Law Firm and this is where I completed my Modern Apprenticeship as an Accounting Technician.
What attracted you to the role?
The main attraction to the role was the offer of study support as I wanted to complete a qualification to become a Chartered Accountant. I also liked the idea of working in a busy and interesting environment and with the Airport Terminal just over the road from our office this didn’t disappoint. On attending my interview I soon realised the array of interesting and diverse characters at the Airport and this was a big attraction as I love to meet new people and my role means I regularly meet with people from all types of operations.
Tell us about your training?
A couple of years ago I completed my qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants whilst working full time at the Airport. My course was fully funded by the Company and I was offered release from work duties to study and complete my exams. At the time there were a few people in the Finance Department who had completed this qualification so they offered me help and advice throughout the course. I have also attended various Management training courses and I am about to commence the Institute of Leadership and Management vocational course which is in partnership with Solihull College who are based on site.
So what’s a typical day for you then?
My role is very much a game of two halves and at the beginning of the month we work hard to complete our Management Accountants and a typical day is spent “crunching” the numbers as we say and also arranging meetings with Budget Holders to discuss their financial performance against our budgets. In the remainder of the month we work with people around the company to generate cost saving initiatives and maximise our income streams.
What advice would you give for potential new recruits?
I would advise potential new recruits to come to any interviews armed with good examples of instances where you have worked as part of a team and in areas outside of your normal duties. Here at the Airport we really do have a One Team ethos and I have had experience of helping out in the Security Department to assist with processing passengers in busy periods and I have even been out in the winter clearing snow on the Airfield. We are all encouraged to be part of Customer Service which means being willing to assist passengers when you are over in the Terminal. It’s all a great way to meet people and get an insight into the Airport operations.
So what do you like best about your job?
In my opinion the best part of my job is attending regular meetings with Budget Holders across the company. We have so many different departments, so one day I will meet with somebody from Terminal Services and we discuss costs spent on Customer Service and the next I will meet with our Engineering department and discuss the costs of maintaining our assets such as the lifts and baggage equipment. It makes my job really interesting having to communicate with people from across the business and I have developed many strong working relationships with many different types of people, many of whom can bring some humour to my work even at the most stressful periods!
And what qualities are the most beneficial?
Whilst it obviously helps to have the technical skills required for Accountancy, softer skills such as communication and organisation are equally as beneficial. You need to be able to confidently discuss issues with different types of people and from all levels within the organisation and be willing to help them understand financial reports and explain things in a manner that is understood by non-financial people. Team work is also essential to work together to reach budgetary targets and complete cost saving projects.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining BHX?
I would say that the Airport is a fascinating place to work and has a very welcoming team of employees. If you like the idea of getting involved with different operations then there are many opportunities to experience diversity within your role and the environment is best suited to people who are able and willing to work as part of a team. Just be prepared for the feeling you get when you see passengers jet off to sunny climates when it’s grey and miserable in the UK!