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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • 11 Jun

A Day in the Life of Accounts Assistant Stephanie Richardson

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Stephanie RichardsonEllie: Next up to be interviewed as part of our ‘Day in the life of’ feature is Retail Assist Accounts Assistant Stephanie Richardson. Hi Steph, how long have you worked for Retail Assist now?

Steph: Hi Ellie, I’ve been here since February 2007, so five and a bit years. Alan Morris the Executive Chairman jokes that I’m part of the fixed asset register because one of my regular tasks is looking at the depreciation of fixed assets… I think that’s a fair assessment!

Ellie: I’m going to ask you a tricky question here – would you be able to describe your typical day at work at Retail Assist?

Steph: I don’t really have a typical day at work, but I do have more of a typical month in terms of the type of activities that I do. In the Finance department we have ‘month end’ processes at the start of every month. For example April’s accounts would be done at the beginning of May and so on.

Andy Harris in the Finance team is responsible for the Management Accounts, and I assist him in terms of bank and fixed assets reconciliation. One of my responsibilities is ensuring that all of the client invoices are sent out each month. I am also responsible for the Aurora accounts, so once my ‘month end’ duties are out of the way I will move on to this task.

From the middle of the month onwards I work on the payroll process. As the company has expanded over the past couple of years, this now takes a few days to complete. Since Retail Assist has grown, all of the Finance processes have grown too and require high levels of attention to detail. Last but not least, we have a payment run to complete every two weeks where we pay expenses and external suppliers.

Ellie: Which area of work do you enjoy the most?

Steph: There isn’t necessarily one particular area which is a favourite of mine as I like the fact that I get to be involved in lots of different things. As Retail Assist has expanded I’ve become responsible for more areas of work, which I enjoy. I previously had roles at other companies which were based around only one or two tasks and were sometimes a bit monotonous, so I prefer the variety of my job here at Retail Assist. I also enjoy helping people within the company with their queries and solving any potential problems.

Ellie: I’ve got another tricky question for you now – what aspects of your role do you find most challenging?

Steph: I think the most difficult part of the job is working to tight deadlines, for example we’re committed to completing payment runs at set times in the month. Also the year end can be very hectic when we have lots of processes going on. Although the department has grown recently, if people are on holiday it can be a challenge juggling the work that they would normally do and dividing it between other members of the team to complete on top of their normal tasks. I think that’s a situation common to many departments and companies however. Sometimes things all come at once and you have to prioritise various jobs, but it’s nice to be busy and always have lots to do – I thrive on that feeling.

Ellie: I agree – it means that work is never boring that way. You mentioned having roles at different companies in the past which were a bit less varied; what previous experiences at these places helped to prepare you for your current job?

Steph: I’ve had experience in both Practice and Industry. Practice involves accounts preparation but with Industry there’s a lot more variety and you can get involved in different elements. I started off in roles in Practice and then moved on to temporary roles within Industry. Some of those were restricted to tasks such as purchase ledger. These roles were good though as they gave me exposure to different elements within Finance. I’ve also completed AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications which have helped massively with the theoretical side of things. The combination of this education and working within different environments has been beneficial.

Ellie: Thanks Steph, I hope this interview has given readers an insight into the Retail Assist Finance department. More information about the teams based at our Head Office can be found on the website.

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