Finance and Admin Manager, Wendy Duffy reflects on 18 years at HLA Services
I joined HLA Services 18 years ago having worked alongside directors, Neil Henry and Paul Smith at a previous company.
I took up a finance and admin role at a time when there were only a couple of staff and six engineers. 20 years later we now have a headcount that is over 100.
The changes have been vast. I joined as the sole member of the finance and admin team and now I have a team of seven who, I can proudly say, I have mentored and assisted in their progression.
Within the team, we have my right-hand women, accounts assistant, Victoria McGuinness and credit control and job analysis, Maxine Charlton. We also have purchase ledger, June Williams, payroll clerk, Matthew Graham and both Laura Dainty and Natalie Hale work on reception. Last, but not least is Maria Hobbs, who looks after our sales invoices.
We are tight knit, and I oversee the management process, with my ultimate responsibility being to ensure the finances are in tip-top order before being handed over to our accountant at the end of the financial year. Everything must be accounted for.
As the business has grown, I have had to adjust to not being in control so much, which does not come easy to me. However, I wouldn’t like the idea of someone micro-managing me, so I give the team autonomy, while always being available, if needed.
Finance is an ever-changing environment, especially keeping on top of the evolving HMRC protocols and we have to adapt fast. It also helps to have a good knowledge of other roles across the company so that I know how best to assist a team member when it comes to pricing for a contract, by way of example.
There are many aspects to finance from credit control, sales ledger, sales purchase, invoicing and job costing. Clients also vary when it comes to payment methods – construction clients often deal with applications as opposed to invoices, so the role always keeps me thinking!
The ongoing pandemic is something that I can only describe as surreal. One day I am doing my normal job, the next day the landscape totally changed and I had to get to grips with new procedures, such as furlough.
I have progressed my career at HLA because it has a supportive family feel. Despite its growth, it still maintains that and that is credit to both our directors.