For this month's Christmas special, I dragged Vineet (a.k.a Diesel, a.k.a V-dog), our Finance Manager, away from his spreadsheets to answer some questions, which I've struggled to condense into the below.
Vineet joined at the start of the year (although feels like he's been here forever - in a good way V) and diligently manages the account team - yet is probably better know for his penchant for tequila shots and introducing the 'three second pint' challenge into our recruitment process.
1. How did you end up in London?
I was born in Japan, where I lived for seven years. My Dad was a Diplomat; hence I was lucky enough to travel around a lot. I got to live in Sri Lanka, India and Bulgaria, before moving to London for my A Levels. Japan was hands down my favourite place to live; it’s a completely different world, what stayed with me most was how honest and down to earth the people were!
2. You're one of the veterans on the team - where were you before?
I started off in Atkins and Partners where I spent 5 years and completed my ACCA. I started as a junior and worked my way up to having my own portfolio of clients. I then moved to Eclipse Hotels Group which has 8 franchise hotels with Intercontinental Hotels, where I worked as a Seniors Accountant and managed their procurement. It was here that I first heard of The Collective, and how quickly they were growing. When an opportunity opened at The Collective I was put forward by a mutual acquaintance and accepted on the spot.
3. Talk us through an average workday.
This is a difficult one, because there is no such thing as an average workday at The Collective! No week is the same for me, which is what I love the most. To name a few things, tasks range from managing the day to day accounting operations, liaising with auditors and producing management packs for the directors, to doing cash-flows for future projects, to playing beer pong at interview’s.
4. I'm a big fan of Xero - has it made your life easier?
To be honest, I was a little pessimistic about Xero when I joined The Collective, as it was the first time I had heard of a cloud based accounting software. However, after just using it for a few hours I fell in love with it immediately and now recommend it highly. The fact that you can access it from anywhere and if done properly have all the information with you whenever you need is great. It has also helped in getting rid of a lot of the admin work – we are aiming to be more or less paperless in 2016 and Xero will go a long way in assisting us with that. This is something I wouldn’t have thought was possible 9 months ago.
5. Favourite thing about working at The Collective?
The fast paced environment – I was very impressed when I joined the company and saw how hungry and motivated everyone was to turn The Collective’s vision into a success. It has helped me grow professionally in leaps and bounds, and I have learnt so much so quickly. Saying that – I guess it is actually the people that make it so great to work here – I feel I have made some great friends in a very short time.
6. What are your top three tips for successfully managing a team?
a. Firstly, you need to trust your team – if you don’t do that then you are going to spend all your time checking their work rather than focusing on managing the team as a whole.
b. Be approachable and be ready to get your hands dirty rather than just delegating – I feel your team will work for you if they know you are not just going to give them orders but also be ready to get involved and be on hand to help them in anything they are stuck on.
c. Stay calm and focussed – if you panic it will have a knock on effect on your team as well. I think I have been very lucky with my team – I know I can count on them when I need something and they will have my back, just the way I would for them.
7. What's the biggest challenge you've ever had to overcome?
It was probably on the personal front when my partner and I purchased a property that had been on the market for more than 6 months due to the amount of work it required. This is at a time when most properties were coming on market and being sold overnight. However, we were desperate to get a place, so we took the risk and completely stripped the property and refurbished it. It was a challenging few months as we were first time buyers – but the end product was an amazing house whose value has gone way over our expectations.
8. What's on your Christmas list this year?
Not really a Christmas list, but it was on my New Years list – for the last few years I have wanted to go to Dubai to see their fireworks on NYE – so I have finally booked my tickets and will be sitting opposite the Burj Khalifa (drunk obviously!) watching the fireworks!
9. Have you got any NY resolutions and goals?
Professionally, I think the next challenge for me will be getting the implementation of the finance function for The Collective Old Oak (opening in May!) in order– so definitely targeting to get that right as I have seen many projects start off with the wrong processes in place and consequently becoming a mess. On a personal level, I am quite impressed by how everyone at The Collective finds time to remain active – so definitely want to become more health conscious in 2016. Who knows, I might even join one of your juice cleanses!
10. Highlight of 2015?
Needless to say – joining The Collective. It has been an amazing journey so far and am looking forward for it to be my highlight in 2016 as well!