I joined Nominet in March 2019 as the Financial Controller, working closely with and reporting to our Chief Financial Officer. Into my remit falls a huge variety of things to be honest; managing the P&L (profit and loss), balance sheet and cashflow of the business, running the budget process, taking care of tax and treasury strategy, and providing commercial business partnership to the business. Importantly we also look after payroll to ensure everyone in the business get paid! External reporting on accounts is also part of the role – handling things like Nominet’s annual report – but also things you might not think of, like keeping an eye on risk and compliance as we are often an integral part of the business decision making process; we help the company to evolve and grow in a financially sensible way.
Previous to joining Nominet I spent five years at Microsoft, initially as the UK Financial Controller before moving into commercial finance leadership roles, prior to which I was with Deloitte for seven and half years. In terms of my background though, you could say I was a scientist really. I studied physics at university and had considered working as a theoretical physicist until an important role model of mine, a very successful businessman, advised me to become a chartered accountant instead. In hindsight, it was super advice and I have no regrets about having taken it. My career has been interesting, varied and very fulfilling – and probably more financially rewarding than if I had been a scientist. It was curiosity that gave me a passion for science and that same curiosity serves me well in my current role. It’s also well satisfied at Nominet because there is so much going on – no two days are the same.
Finance isn’t what it used to be – we’re no longer the people expected to just say ‘no’ to everything. Modern finance is more about enabling the business, asking ‘how do we make this happen?’. We use commercial insights to drive decisions, invest and enable the business to take opportunities, thrive and create value. Finance people are also more and more becoming storytellers: it’s not about regurgitating figures but giving the numbers meaning that the broader, non-financial parts of the business can understand and access. It’s a bit like what the Domain Name System does for the internet: turning long strings of numbers, or IP addresses, into text-based website addresses that we the users can remember. Telling the story of what the numbers truly mean involves skill and a bit of creative licence, which people don’t expect in a finance role. It’s something I’ve learnt and improved upon over time; by seeing what works (and what doesn’t), you develop better ways of landing your message.
Working for Nominet appealed because I was seeking a fast-paced technology company with headquarters in the UK, so I could be close to the heart of decision making. Many big companies like Microsoft have headquarters in the US so decisions are slowed down by waiting for word from abroad if you are working in an office here. Nominet also attracted me because it’s a growing business and an aspirational company, with opportunities to be involved in the excitement and innovation that comes with the territory. There is also a positive feel about the company and the environment we work in; it feels collaborative and supportive, with a great group of people working together towards the same goal.
The technology industry is a fascinating one and comes highly recommended for anyone seeking a finance career. It offers job security and career longevity because the future is all about technology – it will completely underpin our world, if it doesn’t already. This translates into sustainability and varied opportunities in finance, not to mention providing an ‘insider’s view’ into some of the technologies that are changing our world and the experts who are making it all happen. At Nominet, I work with people from all over the business and find out much about the varied work they do, which is a real driver for me: the people and the variety are my two favourite parts of the job.
It’s been an incredible year working at Nominet, with not a single quiet day, because you never know what will happen next in finance. Some days I’m bouncing from a conference call with the leadership team to an interview for a blog or a meeting with the customer services team for more details on their budget. The Nominet environment is so open that I can walk around the office and speak to anyone at any time (when we’re in the office of course). It’s rare for a workplace to be so without internal politics or the undercurrent of ‘empire-building’ that you can find in other places where people are often aggressively ambitious for themselves, sometimes at the cost of wider team and business interests. On the contrary, over the year I’ve relished growing my own team and helping them all develop their own skills and aptitude. They’re a great bunch and the people I work with make this job what it is.
A financial role like mine would suit someone who likes problem-solving, is curious and preoccupied with how to drive value. Being able to see the bigger picture is key, bringing together all aspects of the business and supporting growth while also being aware of risk. Of course, it’s important to be good at numbers and understand the academics of finance, but more crucial is an ability to build trust with the business and share relatable and digestible data to help inform decision making. Helping drive the company forwards is so much of what I do; we look at decisions as opportunities, asking, ‘how do we unlock value in this?’. It’s pretty exciting to a key enabler for a business as fast-paced, expert and influential as Nominet.
Find out more about current vacancies at Nominet on our recruitment page.