To continue our features on our people here at Hallmark UK we asked Chris Hill our International Finance Manager to tell us more about working in finance at Hallmark and his career to date…
Little known fact … Hallmark UK takes the lead on both UK & International finance reporting. Having a mix of professional challenge and career development in Hallmark’s environment impacts your mind-set. I’m not just Finance; my team and I bring the wider business on the journey too. Their understanding of financial controls helps them to make better, more robust, profitable decisions for Hallmark and our Customers. That’s the mark I make and so could you …
I started my career in a small accountancy and audit practice and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a variety of different industries, from electricity to coffee. This varied experience has helped me to realise what is important to me in my professional career, and that’s people! You can work for the most interesting business in the world but what makes you enjoy coming to work is the people you spend your time with. When I heard about the opportunity to join the Hallmark team I was fortunate enough to have somebody in my network who was working here – our conversation mainly revolved around the people and I knew I was making the right decision!
When I joined Hallmark at the end of 2017 I knew that I was joining a business with a rich history and a bright future, but what took me by surprise was the creative buzz around the place. I guess I should have expected that with Hallmark being a creative business, but the vibrancy and energy of the team along with the recently renovated head office made a great first impression on me! Whether it’s the artwork on the walls, the new product displays in the Creative department or the fussball table in the canteen – they all contribute to a great working environment.
Working with the Supply, Product, Creative and Trading teams gives my team unique insight, helping them to develop more than just Finance skills. This is why our focus on development is so important to me. We challenge our people to push themselves outside of their comfort zone, whether that’s by volunteering to present at a team meeting or by identifying a skill they have and agreeing to hold a workshop with the wider team to share their knowledge. This commitment we have to training and development really is fantastic and it’s something that we can be really proud of.
Every business tries to consider what its customers want, but at Hallmark the customer experience is genuinely front of mind when making decisions which is a great attitude to have engrained. This behaviour, along with appropriate financial controls (had to get that in there) will help to ensure we can meet our objectives as a business.
I think I’ve been really fortunate in joining the business at an exciting time. The greetings cards industry and the retail marketplace as a whole are always evolving, so we need to adapt and change with it. This means exciting times ahead for me personally and for us as a business, plus of course lots of challenges, which I can’t wait to tackle head on!
Advice for starting your career Finance: The great thing about a career in finance is that finance is involved in everything! So you can follow your interests and shape your career in a way that makes it interesting to you. If you want to spend your time crunching numbers in spreadsheets then you can do that, but if you’d prefer strategy meetings or project work then there is plenty of that too! The truth is, in my experience at least, a career in finance is varied, challenging and rewarding – and who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet!!