Michael is the Financial Planning & Analysis manager for the business assurance stream, for the SAMEA region. It is a commercial finance role supporting the area operations manager running the operations, split between certification and customised assurance and training services. Michael is based in Dubai.
Why did you join?
What attracted me to the LR initially is that it is quite different in its space, it’s quite rare that you can use your expertise in a company that is owned by a charity, it feels like you are contributing towards a better world in terms of the Foundation’s mantra, contributing towards safety. That was quite unique in itself. The scale of the role in terms of the geographical coverage was a challenge I had had previously. I have the largest geographical area compared to my counterparts. It means different time zones, mentalities and cultures which is really interesting. Whilst this does come with the opportunity to see new places and work with different cultures, there is some flexiblity required and the need to adapt. This ultimately further strengthens my people skills because you arent just interacting with people in your immediate vicinty, you are getting to know how other cultures work as well.
In addition it is a bit of a cultural melting pot in Dubai which is really interesting. I would challenge any other office to find as many cultures and languages in one area. Everyone from the Phillippines to India, we have the English here, some Europeans, Dutch, Australia – it is a bit of a mixture. You come across so many different nationalities that you never would have in previous walks of life. It is a great place to work.
Why did you stay?
I am really fortunate to have a capable line manager who understands the nuances and the balance between full automnoy and providing guidance, structure and support when required. I remember doing my interview and I did ask the question around managing styles and how the role should be approached. He said I had a big box, there are boundaries but those boundaries are quite far so you can push things. This captured my imagination – having full control over my area with support when required. The culture of trust is a really big attraction for me. I can make my own decisions and more importantly make mistakes! I can learn from them which has been really important for my growth.
Training has always been an option, when new systems were rolled out I spent time in Singapore doing training on them which was really interesting as well as commercial pricing training. The appetite for knowledge here is great – it is a place where people develop people. It is a place where you don’t just develop professionally, you develop personally as well. You see there is so much more to the world than what you thought you knew.
Describe a typical day at LR?
It depends what time of the month it is! Normally it’s a quick brief chat with the Area Operations Manager on what’s been going on, we sometimes have an agenda on the hot topics we need to cover. After that it is further discussion with the service delivery and key operational teams to see how they are progressing on things like invoicing, accrued income.The hot focus is always on PowerBI, with rolling weekly forecasts. It is rare that one week to another is the same as there are always different issues to resolve so it keeps the role relatively fresh I would say. One minute your focus might be your debtors and working with different teams to set targets and drive performance of those teams that need to deliver the results so giving them instruction and guidance is important. I like that my role is so varied.