As an important central point of communication both internally and externally, our Accounts team play a vital role in the day to day running and success of Hemlow.
As Hemlow has grown, we are proud to have built a diverse Accounts team in terms of their career backgrounds and professional experiences. We caught up with Accounts Supervisor Louise to find out more about life in the team.
Hi Louise, can you give us a quicky summary of your role?
I am the Accounts Supervisor, dealing with the sales side of the company.
I co-ordinate and oversee activity within the billing department and credit control department.
I also assist the Financial Controller.
Can you tell me a bit more about your team and its importance within Hemlow?
The billing team play a very important role within Hemlow, they are the bridge between the internal contract managers and the external client.
We’re a bit like the crucial middleman, we ensure that the right information gets to the right people in a timely manner, to keep everything running smoothly.
The credit control team play a crucial part in ensuring that we receive payments on time, and they are also on hand to deal with any client queries.
We’re here to help provide clear communication and ensure that this is provided both internally and externally.
“The Accounts team is crucial to the success of Hemlow and being involved with so many departments, means that clear communication is essential. I am proud to say that all my team manage this in their day-to-day tasks and activities and work well together in many differing circumstances.
In addition to this, many of them are studying to further their own professional development, something we actively support here at Hemlow, and I am excited to see their continued growth”
What was your journey into the Accounting sector?
When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I was good at maths, but I didn’t really know what roles were available with that skill. When I was 17, I started chatting to my Aunt, who was a Financial Controller at the time and someone I really looked up to, about what was involved in her role. The aspects of her job she described seemed really interesting and sounded like something I could learn to do one day.
Therefore, I left school and started college at 17 to study my AAT. This was my direct route into the industry. I spent 4 years in college and in my 2nd year I was hired by the college as an apprentice alongside my studies, which gave me great experience. I was eventually internally promoted there to Assistant Management Accountant.
You’re studying again now, can you tell us a bit about this qualification…
I had a small break after completing my AAT and have now, through my own choice, not as a requirement of my job, have started studying for the ACCA. This is something I wanted to do to further my knowledge and my career.
How do you balance studying alongside your full-time job?
It requires me to study for around 6 – 10 hours a week outside of my working hours and attend virtual live lectures some evenings and weekends, so its quite a commitment. It will take me roughly 3 to 4 years to complete but by the end I will hopefully achieve Chartered Accountant status, and that’s what motivates me.
Have Hemlow been supportive with your studies?
Yes, 100%, Hemlow have supported me in many ways, financially they have funded my studies and I get paid time off for each of my exams. Members of the senior management team will also always come and ask how my studies are going and check in after my results come back.
It’s nice to have that recognition from higher up and to know that they are invested in you. I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this qualification if I didn’t have the support from Hemlow.
In addition to senior management, it’s also been great to receive support from the Accounts team. Several of us are studying for qualifications at the moment, and we are all very supportive of one another. It’s nice to be able to ask each other for advice and even just to talk to people who understand your situation, even if it’s just discussing the logistics of working and studying at the same time!
What do you like most about your role?
I love the variety of my role and getting to know so many people, as I have to speak to many different people on a day-to-day basis, both internally and externally.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Prior to Hemlow I was working within the media industry, so getting to know and understand a whole new industry was my biggest challenge. However, I learnt quickly due to the fact that I speak to so many people as part of my role, there was always someone to answer my questions.
Hemlow gave me the time to do that which I appreciate, they didn’t expect me to know everything straight away.
What would your advice be to people looking for a career in accounting?
Do your research! Look at all the different roles such as tax, admin, management etc, they are all as important as each other.
From my own experience the AAT was a great route in as it gave a high level overview of all the routes I could take, then I was able to choose which one I specialised in. For me I chose business and personal tax, but there are so many to choose from.
Whatever you decide, make sure you are interested in it as this will provide you with the self-motivation you need to succeed. Organisation is also key, especially to maintain a good work-life balance as it can be long hours at times.
What does the future hold for you?
Academically I would like to achieve my chartered status.
Within the workplace I just want to continue to grow my knowledge and learn from others within my team. We are such a diverse team in terms of our professional backgrounds so there’s always things to be learnt from everyone! It would also be good to get involved in some other areas of accounts.