What's it like to work in Finance at Specsavers?

Posted in Support Office on September 18, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Meet Ian Peters, Financial Controller 

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
I like to think I have quite a varied background. I started out as an Accounts Payable Clerk in Nottingham and then joined a Big 4 Accountancy Firm where I studied my ACCA exams whilst working on a range of clients, primarily within the East Midlands area. My next move was a transfer over to Brisbane, Australia where I continued working within Audit before moving to work for a Mining Company. Here is where I learnt about team management, process improvements, and budgeting & forecasting, before I moved onto work as Financial Controllers in a Listed Childcare company.

When I moved back to the UK a year and a half ago, I worked for a year in the Head Office for Barratt Homes working on their annual PLC accounts, which even included arranging photoshoots for the various pictures we wanted to include in the report. Overall, I have a real mix of industries and experiences which has given me lots of ideas to implement in Specsavers!

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I manage the Revenue Accounting, Compliance, Healthcall, VAT and FSSC Controls teams. Across these teams we make sure we get the sales numbers into our accounting systems, everything is reconciled correctly and that stores are complying with our various rules and controls. We make sure we submit the stores VAT returns on time, provide administrative and claim form processing services for our (Joint Venture Partners) JVPs, as we look for new risks and controls to implement within the Finance Shared Services Centre. That’s quite a big nutshell but sums up what I am responsible for.

What does your typical day look like?
This really all depends on what problems or queries drop into my inbox. I spend most of my time discussing problems or queries with my managers, but when everything is running smoothly I like to focus my time on looking at ways to improve processes and the IT systems which my team rely on in their day to day work.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
I am genuinely surprised at how many decisions are made in the best interest of our customers and employees. I am used to working for more 'corporate' companies where the focus is always adding value to shareholders, maximising profits, and focusing on short term bonus objectives. Specsavers really seems to have a fantastic approach to working.

How have you developed?
I have only been here since February, but I have already taken on 3 additional teams, and been to lots of meetings with different departments which keeps me on my toes. It has been a steep learning curve up until now to understand some of the finer details regarding Specsavers, but I think I am getting there. I always like to be learning something new, which isn't hard when I am interacting with so many different people and teams. Because I also spend a fair amount of time on the Airbus visiting my team in Guernsey, my fear of heights is also getting much better!

What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
I actually genuinely enjoy coming into work everyday. Other than trying to improve processes, the people I work with really make or break how your day is going to go. Luckily, everyone at Specsavers work very well together so I would put that at the top of my list.

In terms of challenges – it would be trying to keep up with the pace of growth of the company. Because the retail side of the business has grown so much, we really do need to push our systems and processes to try to keep up.

Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Collaborative, Dynamic and Enjoyable.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
Really think about the sort of company you want to work for. If you want to 'corporate' suit/tie job the it probably isn't the place for you. Read up on the company, and if you like a challenge and have a positive approach to change then I really would recommend Specsavers as a place to work.

Check out what opportunities we currently have in our Finance Shared Service Centre here.