Working in DIO is a world away from my previous job working with corporate clients. I’m a Finance Manager based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire. The finance team provides support to Service Accommodation in the UK and also to overseas bases.
We perform a range of tasks including budgeting, forecasting and scrutiny of expenditure. In addition, we provide advice on a wide range of financial policy issues and respond to urgent requests for information, such as Parliamentary questions.
I am responsible for the annual Contribution In Lieu of Council Tax return, the quarterly commitment, debtor and creditor reports, and the audit of accommodation charges. However, because we work in a team of 14, my time is often spent mentoring and assisting other team members.
I also supervise two members of staff who control the payments made for Defence Accommodation Stores. This money furnishes service families properties, Ministry of Defence (MOD) offices, messes, and so on.
I’ve always loved finance; it’s in my genes as my Dad is a retired bank manager and I remember playing in the branch safe as a child. I loved counting the coins into piles when he ran charity raffles. My first finance role was as boat club treasurer at university – we bought a beautiful new fibreglass rowing boat and didn’t get into debt!
My first paid role in Finance was working for one of the national Chartered Accountancy firms. I progressed to being an audit senior, led teams, trained staff and produced published financial accounts. I had clients from various industry sectors – engine manufacturers, chemical companies, kitchen distributors – but my favourite client was Sara Lee Cakes!
Seizing the opportunity
Approximately eleven years ago my husband and I relocated to Cambridgeshire and I seized the opportunity of a change in working life. I investigated different types of employers and liked what I saw in DIO. The staff were very open and friendly, the office environment was modern and there was the ability to get right into serving the business. Also attractive were the benefits of flexible working hours and a generous pension scheme.
Over the years I have enjoyed working with a wide range of staff and working for an employer who advances diversity and equality of opportunity.
A day in my life
My typical day sees me in the office with my colleagues, responding to queries, within the larger team of the Head Office for Service Delivery Accommodation. Our work largely runs on a monthly and annual cycle, with deadlines for the monthly and quarterly financial returns. Currently we are liaising with all the UK councils to calculate and arrange the Contribution In Lieu Of Council Tax payments for the next financial year.
Recently, the Finance staff were moved to all sit together as a big team and I have found that this has really improved my working day. We are not isolated and can pool our knowledge. When a large piece of work needs to be done we pull together.
Supporting our Armed Forces
My favourite part of the job is working to support the service men, women and families who live and/or work on the Defence estate. Anything that I can do to ensure that funding is used wisely and to make processes easier for everyone concerned makes me happy.
The high point of my time at DIO is obtaining the Chartered Management Accountant CIMA qualification in May 2012, when I was 46 years old. The MOD sponsored me in time and money to study for the qualification, for which I am very grateful. I also had to spend a lot of my own time studying, but I really enjoyed it and would encourage any one else to think about expanding their skills at whatever their age.