Specsavers has helped me develop personally as well as professionally
Meet Peter Reddish - FSSC Administrator
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Before joining Specsavers in September 2014 I had just finished at college studying Mathematics, Chemistry and History. I had very little work history apart from working in the family run business, however committed to get involved in building up my work career straight away instead of going to university in the finance industry. I was always known as a shy and quiet student at school, but was praised for always meeting deadlines and hitting all my targets. I was eager to improve upon my weaknesses, in addition to taking advantage of my preparation skills to meet all tasks and targets assigned to me.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
My first role in Specsavers was being part of their apprenticeship scheme in the company’s finance offices in Nottingham. Originally working in the stores department it involved sorting, scanning and processing all invoices received from UK stores while also studying my business administration NVQ.
After completing my NVQ I decided to study AAT, a professional accounting qualification which is more internationally recognised in accounting roles. Although it is a more challenging and time consuming qualification I felt confident in myself and felt I had the backing of Specsavers to complete the exams to a high standard. After a year processing invoices I moved to the expenses team which involves reimbursing employees of company expenses, as well as ensuring they abide by the company policy.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day generally consists of processing expense claims, with 2 days in the week including payment runs where expenses are added for payment if they are compliant under HMRC guidelines.
The role involves a lot of communication with staff across the business. They can communicate with us in a variety of ways including emails, phone calls or contacting the FCR team (Finance Customer Response). Queries range from further information to meet company policy to the expected time of payment for an individual’s expense claim, so we must be prepared for all types of questions when put on the spot!
What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
Being able to balance my time so that I can study for my accounting studies without jeopardising both my working and social life. It is too easy nowadays to get distracted and procrastinate with the technology we have, but by committing myself along with consistent and positive support from everyone around me I have successfully completed my Level 3 AAT studies, and am very close to completing Level 4.
How have you developed?
I have become considerably more vocal and have more confidence with speaking to people than when I first joined. I am more thoughtful and weigh up all the options available before making a decision, and include the personal aspect of a situation which I would generally avoid when younger and would go strictly by the numbers. Working in a close and cooperative team has made me open my shell, which in turn has helped me become a more approachable and friendly character in the office.
What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
My biggest enjoyment is constantly developing and creating new methods to improve the efficiency and accuracy of our work. There is always a way to improve a process and I have always liked creating new ideas and putting them to the test, and tweak them if they are not 100% effective.
The challenge for us is being able to negotiate the time in the day to process expenses while also ensuring they are correct and follow company policy. Due to some expenses being paid out of people’s own pocket there is more pressure on us to be up to date with our work than other teams in our department. Despite this we must have a ‘firm but fair’ attitude; because when something is incorrect we must spot this otherwise the company will be liable to large penalties and fines if we are not very careful.
Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Friendly, Driven and Committed.
What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
My advice would be to simply be yourself, whether it is typing your CV or talking in an interview. Specsavers has such a diverse culture, and no matter your background or knowledge they are happy to employ people who are driven and committed to pursue their career aspirations. It will also help with any nerves you may have if you’re scared of interviews!
Although it can be tempting making yourself look bigger than you are, hoping it increases your chances of success, the people here are very humble and passionate and look for people with the same qualities. Even if you have very little work experience Specsavers provides you with every opportunity possible to help with this, and will assist you in achieving your short term goals as well as aspirations you have for the future.