From the latest instalment from the Rutherford Cross “10 questions with” blog we hear from Simon Young, Group Financial Controller of Cloudreach. Simon discusses he didn’t take a traditional career path and how he has changed his career direction a few times including the types of finance roles and industries.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m an early riser so it’s usually an early start, checking emails, catching up on the news and planning my diary for the day over coffee. From there the rest of the day is incredibly diverse and packed with meetings.
My role involves interactions throughout our Finance team, the rest of the business and with many external stakeholders. The diversity in my role is one of the things I enjoy most as my day will include a mix of; technical accounting, people matters, system/process/operational matters, commercial focus, tax & compliance and much more!
What does Cloudreach do and what attracted you to join the organisation?
Cloudreach is the world’s leading independent multi-cloud services company. Our mission is to deliver the promise of cloud and drive extraordinary value for our customers. Cloudreach helps enterprises win competitive advantage through successful cloud transformation. We’re the go-to strategic partner for Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. With more than 10 years of cloud native experience, we’ve built an unmatched depth and breadth of expertise in cloud technologies and their application to business.
Cloud computing is a key factor shaping and driving the future of all organisations by providing a wealth of benefits such as newfound flexibility, efficiency, cost savings, increased collaboration & insight, etc. It was a no brainer to take up the opportunity to work in an organisation specialising in such an exciting industry with a strong reputation for first class customer delivery combined with a central focus on our unique company culture and values.
What defining career moments have there been for you so far and what career advice would you give yourself when you were younger if you could?
Before joining Cloudreach, I trained at a practice specialising in business support/management in the arts, media & entertainment before pivoting to general practice and then moving to financial services, specialising in tax. As you can see, my career to date hasn’t taken a traditional ‘ladder’ path as I’ve pivoted and changed direction a few times. I see each of these changes as defining career moments.
I would advise my younger self to take as much time as you can to enjoy the high points and time spent with excellent people. Work can be hard but it’s these good times and people I reflect on the most.
What does it take to be a successful leader?
Every successful leader I’ve been fortunate to work with has been organised, honest, empathetic, hard-working, accountable and a clear communicator. These are the critical factors I have always tried to be focused on in any leadership capacity of my own. However, if I’m ever conflicted or troubled in any leadership situation, I always go back to one core behavioural question; how would I like to be treated by my leaders here?
Prior to joining Cloudreach as Group Financial Controller you initially started your career within practice before moving into financial services and specialising within Tax, how have these generalist and specialist positions helped you in your current role?
My early career focus was on developing foundational finance skills which my roles in practice delivered in bucket loads. Each client engagement differed so any one day I could be bookkeeping, preparing or auditing financial statements, implementing systems, preparing tax compliance, reviewing project/billing WIP, business support, client meetings, etc.
With my move to financial services I was challenging myself to dive deeper into a more technical specialism in a regulated and highly driven environment in a complex multinational business. It was also an excellent situation to focus on developing my people management & leadership skills.
These very different experiences have given me a broad skillset and perspective to understand and add value (hopefully!) to any given finance situation ranging from ledger level accounting & process to technical accounting & tax to leadership & people management.
For those who might be interested in joining Cloudreach’s Finance team – what kind of person do you look for?
One of Cloudreach’s mantras is not being content with the status quo, to do things better and then do better things. I’ve found great value in working with colleagues who are collaborative, supportive and always proactively & positively focused on learning from previous experiences, either positive or negative, and figuring out how to improve any given situation.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Organised, calm and busy most likely! The diversity in my role means I’m often quickly switching from one topic or activity to the next which is interesting and challenging but I’m always very focussed on committing to the topic at hand which I hope I deliver on!
If you could invite two people to a dinner party (living or deceased) who you choose and why?
Napoleon Bonaparte & Sir Arthur Wellesley (the 1st Duke of Wellington) as I think they’d be fascinating company. I’m mildly obsessed with the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on the birth of modern Western civilisation.
What is an interesting fact that people may not know about you?
Here’s a few; I trained as a chef, I played recorder to the Queen at the opening ceremony of the Channel Tunnel and I’m in the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch (only as an extra I should point out!).
If you weren’t in Finance, what would you be doing (for a career)?
In my alternate universe career I’m probably running a quaint wine bar or bistro I hope!
For more information relating to the finance market in Scotland or if you would like to arrange a confidential conversation to discuss your career aspirations, please contact Georgina Millyard – [email protected].