- We take our Financial Director out of the Boardroom and into the spotlight to discuss the evolution of his role and Lark
In the Boardroom
As Financial Director and Company Secretary with additional responsibilities for IT and Facilities, it is a rare occurrence (akin to sighting a Sumatran Rhinoceros in the wild) to be asked to step out of the shadows and feature here in our second LARKlink publication for our corporate clients, and I am delighted to be able to do so.
After studying at Exeter University, I embarked on a career in finance, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte Haskins & Sells as it was then known before moving to Lloyds Bank with three years spent in Hong Kong. I joined Lark in 2000 and genuinely have not looked back since.
Lark was a markedly different organisation then to what it is now in terms of its size and corporate structure. Back then the firm was a partnership with 120 staff and turnover of £5.7 million operating from two offices. Today the Lark Group of companies employs over 350 staff operating in 8 offices across London, the South East and East Anglia with annual turnover of £28.5 million.
The intervening period has witnessed numerous and exciting changes from partnership to limited liability company, making transformational and bolt-on acquisitions alongside developing organic growth opportunities and undertaking a majority sale and subsequent management buy-out five years later to become what Lark is today.
This has presented interesting and varied professional challenges but it is not the answer to the one question that I intermittently keep asking myself: Why have I and so many others remained at Lark for so long? Whilst I cannot vouch for others, my answer is straightforward and can be found in the one constant within the business, its people.
Core to the heart of Lark are its people and the relationships they develop with our clients, insurers and suppliers. The strong customer service focus and culture is one that runs right the way through, with one main point of contact providing a unique and personalised service, tailored to needs. Whether that be via face-to-face meetings or calling the Lark contact’s direct telephone line, it is poles apart from the faceless call centre operations that are in vogue and encountered in our everyday lives.
Development of our staff and recognising their potential is the hub of providing the customer service approach, whether via attainment of professional qualifications, tailored training requirements or leadership and development programmes. It is centric to our values as borne out by our recently awarded corporate Chartered Insurance Brokers status by the Chartered Insurance Institute demonstrating the pursuit of the highest standards and commitment to help our staff develop and achieve professional qualifications whilst looking to craft long-standing relationships built on a foundation of trust, integrity and sensitivity.
We enjoy what we do, which transcends into the social aspects of work. There are the usual social events to let one’s hair down but I have been struck by the commitment and motivation to give something back and raise money for a number of worthwhile charities that are supported, with any funding raised matched by the business. The fun fundraising activities range from the genteel (bake sales and quiz nights) to the extreme (sky diving and marathons) and this year sees the inaugural inter-office tag triathlon event in September.
I have found that working for Lark is special. The company, despite its growth, maintains its culture as a family business that recognises and nurtures staff potential, as well as being a social and friendly place to work. Is it rare to encounter? Probably not as rare as a Sumatran Rhinoceros sighting but is one that I believe businesses should look to engender rather than endanger.
Taken from LARKlink - Issue 2 - Dyeversity
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