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Vyne Spotlight: Financial Controller

02 112 Spotlight Alicia Blog header

Jul 14, 2022 · 5 minutes

We pride ourselves on our company culture and expertise. Our team is made up of various nationalities, backgrounds, skillsets and everyone plays a crucial role in our success. We're not into bragging, but everyone at Vyne is pretty awesome.

She holds a degree in chemistry, has travelled to 42 countries and can crunch numbers better than most. Talented, focused and extremely kind, it's our treasured financial controller, Alicia Stratford. She’s our secret weapon 🙌 P.S hide your biscuits!

Why Vyne?

My background has always been in financial services and fintech, but I wanted to work for an early stage start-up. I knew within ten minutes of my first interview that Vyne was where I wanted to be. Everyone I spoke to believed in the product and seemed genuinely excited about what was possible for Vyne. The position at Vyne allowed me to not only shape my own role but also the finance department, and I could also take on duties outside of finance to help contribute to the success of the wider business. I knew I would enjoy having a chance to help create a company’s culture rather than push against an established one.

Favourite three things about Vyne?

The people, the product and the potential!

There’s a knowing at Vyne that everyone is working together to achieve the same goals. I’m surrounded by hard-working, talented and ambitious people which is a huge motivation for me. The product is fantastic; every time I see an update from my co-workers I’m amazed at what has been created in such a short time that truly benefits our merchants and partners. With Open Banking continuing to grow at such a rapid rate, the potential of Vyne is such an exciting venture to be involved in.

What’s a typical day like as a Financial Controller

Unlike what you'd expect from an accountant, my days are far from being routinely monotonous or boring. Each day is very different depending on where we are in the month, quarter or year. As a financial controller, I am responsible for all day-to-day accounting operations. This includes tasks such as financial reporting to external stakeholders, running payroll, leading the preparation of financial records for audits, providing business plans and overseeing tax and regulatory issues.

At all times we need to ensure that what we are presenting is accurate and current, as many employees rely on the interpretation of these figures in order to make key business decisions.

What's great about working in payments?

Some people might associate payments with traditional banks, but in the last few years, the payments industry has seen a huge transformation, enabling innovation, competition, and opportunity. You get to see first-hand the result of breakthrough technologies and improved customer experiences, and you never know what is next and what new opportunities there are to learn from 💡

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

I have an inner critic who is far harder on me than any boss or co-worker would be. I assumed that the self-criticism was productive because it kept me on my toes, but not only would this inner critic chastise me if something didn’t go to plan, it also made me afraid to speak up and pursue ideas as I was worried about what others would think of me.

I’ve learned and am still learning to try and treat myself in an equally as kind and supportive way as I would treat a colleague.

What drives you?

It’s a very simple answer but I really enjoy helping people. I take pride in rolling my sleeves up and doing what’s necessary to help friends, family, and co-workers.

At work (not sport!) I will always choose teamwork over competition wherever possible, so working in an environment where we share knowledge, attention and expertise with anyone who needs it helps to drive me.

Any advice for women who want to get into fintech?

The fintech industry is rapidly moving and always changing, so try to have a curious mind, ask lots of questions, take time to learn and don’t limit yourself based on your experience only. Just because you’ve not done something yet doesn’t mean you can’t.

Like many industries, the lack of diversity in fintech can at first seem quite daunting, but from my experience, the industry wants this to change and is taking steps to address this. Try to look at what fintech could be rather than what it is right now.

What made you pursue a degree in Chemistry?

I wanted to pick a subject that had a mixture of both theory and practicality. Chemistry appealed to me because it's about what makes up you as a person, what makes up the world and how the world works around you. I also naively thought there would be a lot more explosions and drama in the labs each week 👩‍🔬

Favourite place to go on holiday?

A place called Sun City in South Africa, which is in the remnants of a volcano that erupted one million years ago. Closer to home, each year I go to Frühlingsfest in Munich, the smaller Spring version of Oktoberfest.

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What's your superpower?

The ability to make a packet of biscuits disappear in a very short amount of time.

What are people often surprised to know about you?

I would normally say that I’ve done a degree in Chemistry. Maybe that I’ve been to 42 countries or that I’ve won a fancy dress competition dressed as Alan Shearer.

Finally, your top 5 songs /books/tv programs?

· Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari

· Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling

· Conqueror (Genghis Khan Series) - Conn Iggulden

· Mythos – Stephen Fry

· Noughts & Crosses - Malorie Blackman

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