Meet the Reconomy Team - Karen Lee

13 Jun 2017

Job title: Finance Manager

Daily number of hot beverages consumed: Not enough.

Accompanying biscuit of choice: Custard Creams. They’ve always been my favourite!

How long have you worked at Reconomy?

I’ve been Reconomy’s Finance Manager for 12 years now, so it’s fair to say that I’m part of the furniture. When I joined, the department only had around 15 members of staff, but over the years we’ve grown considerably and we’re now more than 50-strong.

A bigger team ultimately means more responsibility, but I’m very fortunate to have three exceptionally good department managers working for me and collectively we’re able to share the burden. When you’re surrounded by good people that know what they’re doing, it builds everyone confidence and helps to create a very positive working environment.

What are your core responsibilities?

As a member of Reconomy’s senior management team, I’m responsible for the overall day-to-day running of the finance department. This includes the accounts payable team, credit control, the treasury team and the document management team. Collectively we’re responsible for producing the company’s financial reports and for making sure all invoices coming in and going out of the department are checked, audited and paid in a timely manner. Because of the size of our customer-base as well as the large number of supply partners that we work with, we get through an incredible amount of paperwork each month.

How do you make a difference everyday?

I always try to support the team as much as I can and make their jobs as straightforward and hassle-free as possible. Part of this means making them feel comfortable enough to approach me with any challenges that they’re facing. Every day I’ll make a point of walking around the department to say good morning to everyone because it gives them that opportunity to raise any issues or concerns directly. I also deliberately leave my office door open whenever possible because I don’t want to put any barriers in the way. It’s important that they feel supported and know I am there for them when needed.

How is the changing face of the waste industry directly impacting upon Reconomy and your job role?

Changes in waste legislation have put a far greater emphasis on environmental compliance but have also highlighted the significant fines businesses face for non-compliance. I think this is a key reason why Reconomy has experienced such strong growth in recent years, because we take that responsibility off our customers’ shoulders. Many of our Directors have years of waste management experience and are very knowledgeable on waste legislation, so we’re able to give our customers a great deal of guidance.

What did you do before you joined Reconomy?

I’ve always been good with numbers, so working in finance was a natural fit for me. The great thing about finance is that the skills you learn are completely transferable – all businesses across virtually every industry has the need for a finance department. This has afforded me the opportunity to work in many different sectors.

I’d say the most high-profile job I’ve had was Finance Manager at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children in Central London, which was an amazing experience. In contrast, probably the least glamorous was working for a company that made envelopes!

What one possession could you never live without and why?

I use my iPad for almost everything, whether it be playing games, reading books, taking photos, or watching movies. Pretty much my whole life is on it, so I don’t know what I’d do without it. It goes everywhere with me!

What is the best thing about your job?

A place of work is just four walls and a few windows. It’s the people that bring it to life and make it what it is. I’m surrounded by such a great group of people here that coming to work every day is a pleasure. Hands down, they are the best team that I’ve ever worked with. A good percentage of Reconomy’s workforce have been here for at least five years, so clearly I’m not alone in these views.