We may have come to the end of the working week but we haven't come to the end of our International Women's Day celebrations. In fact, it is important to note that whilst International Women's Day 2020 takes place this Sunday March 8th the 2020 theme #EachforEqual is a year long initiative. An equal world is an enabled world.
For todays interview we speak with Masha Munro, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at OASIS Group.
What is your professional background?
I have been working in a finance function since I graduated from my Masters in Economic Development in Manchester. I started working with adidas UK as a finance graduate in 2007 where I also started studying for my CIMA on the weekends/evenings whilst rotating to different financial departments.
After a couple of years, I decided to move back to the Netherlands and started working for Dyson as a financial analyst in Amsterdam. During that time, I met my (now) husband who lived in the UK. After moving back to the UK I joined OVO Energy as Financial Planning Analyst and quickly moved through various functions over the next 8 years gaining experience in a range of more senior financial positions. My husband took a role in Ireland for which we decided to move to Dublin with the family. Sharing equal parenting duties with my husband I found I was commuting far too much leading me to join OASIS Group in April 2019 as Director of FP&A.
What does your role entail?
My role mainly focusses on delivering insight into the financial performance of the business. This includes reporting for internal and external stakeholders on current financial performance as well as future performance through the means of budgets and forecasts. For example last year we implemented a new forecasting/budgeting system that will link to our new financial system which will become a more streamlined reporting tool.
On a monthly basis we create the board presentation and are in the middle of establishing regular reports for the managing directors and senior leadership team. On top of that we are currently working on the 3-5 year financial business planning model including scenario analysis to see the financial impact of various potential opportunities and market influences.
For part of the business we are also involved in the biannual repricing process and supporting the work on client profitability. We are a relative new team establishing new processes and reports to get a better understanding of the underlying drivers of the business allowing us to provide information to take the right decisions for OASIS as a whole.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
I think that automation and improved systems have significantly impacted my profession over the years. There is now, more than ever, an abundance of business data available for analysis, with a large subsection now able to be analysed automatically through transformative cloud based systems.
I would like to bring the simplicity, technology and customer focus of presenting data that is happening in the consumer market into the business world and B2B. Presenting financial and operational data in a easy to digest manner will allow individuals to make the right decision based on factual data as well as client feedback.
What’s the biggest challenge facing our industry today - and how do you plan to solve it? As you say.
This isn’t specific to our industry, but it is specific to every single one of our clients ‘data’. I believe that data, or more importantly data accuracy, is the biggest challenge that is facing all industries.
Businesses are constantly adding to their data, which will never change, so every organisation must have robust processes in place for managing and analysing their data. Organisations that understand their data will be successful for years to come.
What are the current challenges for women in your profession?
I think there are a few challenges and sometimes they overlap but sometimes they don’t. In general, there are less women in senior positions than men which in certain companies can be seen as a challenge.
There is often, especially in the case of women taking career breaks or time out to have a child, a larger ladder to climb in finding a mentor. This could be because of varying reasons, including loss of close relationship with peers during this break.
Do you think there is a lack of women in our industry? If so, why?
I certainly think there are less women than men in our industry but I wouldn’t call it a lack of women and in my experience at OASIS my gender hasn’t had an impact on my role nor the relationships I have built.
What does ‘Collective Individualism’ mean to you? Either in general or when thinking about OASIS Group.
I am in a unique position, whereby I collaborate across all business functions within OASIS, this allows me to work closely with various individuals and groups. Through this process I witness on a daily basis how each individual Team Member, and their unique contribution to projects, help OASIS grow as a business.
Is there anyone (male or female) that inspires you in your career?
There isn’t one person that directly inspires me, instead it is the wider community I am a member of. This might sound strange, but I get inspired every day by the little things that everyone does for each other and for the company to get better, learn and improve.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in your profession, either within this industry or in general?
I think it is important to build good relationships across the business, internally and externally. If you would like to progress, then create a goal and the steps on how to get there and discuss them either with your line manager or another person in the business you have built a relationship with.
Never be afraid to ask for a mentor as quite often the person you ask will be delighted to help someone else progress in their profession. The likes of constructive feedback, “lean-in”, “sit at the table” are key phrases you hear but I think they are key to ensure you participate, develop and grow as an individual.