RICHARD PLAYLE -Senior Finance Manager

Why did you choose to go into Finance/Accounting?

I went to university not really that certain about what I would industry or professional area I would like to work in, so I completed a degree in business studies as it covered a wide variety of areas. This including the basics of accountancy along with a work placement year, which I hoped would help give me an advantage when applying for jobs when I graduated.

For the third year of the degree I worked in the accounts department of a recruitment agency, covering the more straightforward finance tasks related to sales and purchases as well as a payroll. I enjoyed this area of work, and I think this experience along with a desire to use my degree pushed me towards the world of finance. When an accounts position with supported study in a large local government authority in London came up. I applied, and after being accepted for the role my finance career started from there….

How have you found your experience at UHS?

It’s been a very interesting and welcoming time in the short period I have been at UHS. I had a good induction that covered meeting senior finance colleagues along with a variety of background research as this was first my role in an NHS finance environment. I was quickly involved in project/finance meetings and associated work, with good exposure to senior stakeholders through trust groups covering finance items. It’s been very positive in the respect that colleagues are always willing to help, and it’s a good culture for meeting senior managers so that you can quickly and easily understand their areas of work.

How has your Accounting journey developed over time?

I’ve had a number of different roles, in a variety of industry sectors. My career started in local government in London working on the finances for high profile projects and services such as parking, housing, and regeneration. The finance projects often involved improvement projects for services, income generation/cost savings. My roles gradually changes from a finance assistant through to project/management accounts, through to a manager of accounting teams with a  strong focus on developing business partnering with services. After a while in local government I felt I needed a new challenge and moved across to the private sector working for a large plc working on a joint venture in local government. More recently I have worked for as a financial controller for SME’s  including a project to float on the stock market, and a charity in the education sector. At this stage of my career I felt that a next suitable challenge would be working for UHS on the finances for strategic projects.

What quality do you need to be an accountant/someone within finance?

I wouldn’t necessarily say strong numerical skills is always one of them. My personal view is that accountants need to be focussed on adding value through their work, so strong skills in working with people (both financial and non-financial) and understanding their needs is always a good starting point. Being interested in your work areas, as well as feeling confident to challenge current positions as well as building effective relationships with others are also helpful skills. Finally, having an ability to understand processes and the factors driving financial information is always helpful identifying financial position and helping to improve them.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think at UHS it’s a combination of working as part of finance and service teams that are always focussed on making a difference and improving the quality of people’s lives. Whilst accountants are not involved in front line care, we can play a key part in ensuring the outcomes for patients can be improved with the limited resources available. In previous roles I have worked on the finance aspects of projects improving the quality of housing for residents, and catering services for school children. It’s also a very positive experience working with such a variety of colleagues with different experiences and skills.