Job Title
Financial Controller – OperationsName: Nigel Blakey

Company: Greencore Group

Professional Qualification(s):
DMS – Nottingham Business School, GNVQ Advanced In Business & Finance, Qualified Accountant – FCCA (Association Of Chartered Certified Accountants)

Brief overview of your job:
Responsible for the Financial Control of a three site manufacturing operation, covering Factory performance, cost control, stock management & capital appraisals.
What does your job involve?
Within each week I have set of routine meetings & tasks that I am involved in, accompanied by an array of adhoc requests that are often unplanned.
A large part of my role involves reviewing schedules prepared by others, such as labour and overhead costs, material usages, various Operational related KPI’s and stock reports. I tend to review these during 1-1 sessions with my team. A weekly Management review takes place each Friday where results are compared to Budgeted targets and I take the Senior Managers through the businesses performance in great detail! Action lists are produced designed to drive improved performance & control, clearly highlighting those accountable for delivering the results. Beyond these fixed elements no two weeks are the same, resulting in my involvement in product costings, capital appraisals, project management, systems & process implementation and design, forecasting, supplier negotiations and supporting my team.

What do you most like about your job?
This is easy – the variety, being part of a strong team and the opportunity to see more of the ‘big picture’. I have always wanted to see how things work, fit together etc & this role provides this, along with a constantly changing & challenging environment.

What skills are required in your job?
• Strong interpersonal skills & a sense of humour. A large part of my role involves communicating with and advising other groups on performance & cost related issues. An appreciation of how the business as a whole fits together helps this as does a sense of humour when dealing with more difficult issues.
• Good innumeracy skills & the ability to interpret & manipulate large amounts of data, highlighting trends, opportunities etc.
• Staff management & motivational skills.
• The ability to think ‘Strategically’ – the role allows me access to many business processes and a more rounded view of the world around me. Many decisions are interrelated and need to be considered in a wider context.
• Confidence & determination – especially when communicating underperformance!
• Good teamwork skills – the Senior Management Team ‘pulling’ together is vital if our strategic objectives are to be delivered. Good team working allows important views to be exchanged & considered and members to ‘challenge’ each other in a productive way.

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food & grocery industry?
My own experience of the Food industry has been one of constant change, having moved through seven positions in just over eight years! The best advice I could give is to try and plan to acquire those ‘experiences’ and ‘qualities’ you need to grow and develop rather than attempting to formulate a rigid career path. The only thing that is certain within our Industry is change!. Prepare yourself this & be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise – unexpectedly of course!

Career so far:
January 2003 – To present – Financial Controller Operations: Greencore Grocery (formerly Hazlewood Grocery), Selby/Manchester/Corwen Sites.

January 2002 – January 2003 – Financial Controller, Hazlewood Prepared Foods Kiveton Bakery & Logistics – Sheffield.

January 2000 December 2001 – Divisional Project Accountant, Hazlewood Cakes & Desserts – Hull & Selby.

April 2000 – December 2000 – Secondment as Financial Controller Hazlewood Grocery Manchester Site.

March 1999 – April 2000 – Site Management Accountant Hazlewood Grocery Selby Site.

December 1997 – March 1999 – Financial Accountant Hazlewood Grocery Selby Site.

May 1996 – December 1997 Cost Accountant Hazlewood Grocery Selby Site.

1995 – May 1996 Trainee Accountant – Simms Food Group PLC.