Azon’s fortnightly Finance Leader Series provides insights into the mentality, work habits and career pathways of some of the most inspirational and influential finance leaders in the industry. This week, we caught up with Aine Hanlon, Head of Shared Services at Kepak.
Aine is an ACA with 25+ years experience, and is KPMG trained. Aine has worked in 6 industries across a variety of roles, mostly as Head of Finance.
Aine is the Head of Shared Services at Kepak, a food production business with a group turnover of €1b+.
Q. Give a quick overview of your career to date:
My career to date has spanned multiple industries from Post to Print, Parking to Property and now Meat manufacturing. From KPMG to my current role, I have gained a variety of skills including how to manage a team of 20+ finance professionals, rolling out new IT/ERP systems across multiple locations and building strategic partners across disciplines to best serve the businesses I have worked in. My passion is to add value to the organisation I work for and to make the workplace better for my being there. I consistently look to implement process improvements to help make everyone’s life a little easier and more efficient – I trained as a Process Improvement expert whilst working at General Electric. I have always enjoyed building a collaborative culture wherever I have worked and have always looked to learn something new in every challenge.
Q. What was your first job (ever)?
KPMG trainee accountant.
Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
Making a difference to the companies I have worked for and the people who have worked for me and I have worked with.
Q. How do you define success?
Getting paid well to do a job you enjoy where you can make a difference.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t stay in a job where respect, equality and ethics are not visible every day.
Q. What advice would you give to young accountants?
Say yes to everything you are asked to do and then ask for help and guidance if you need it. “I can’t” is really “I haven’t figured that out yet but I really want to try”.
Q. Where do you see the biggest change in Finance in the coming years?
Continued automation of processes we will have to adapt or become irrelevant. Soft skills will overtake technical knowledge. Communication with become the most important skill an accountant has.
Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
By showing interest in progression and life long learning. By creating an atmosphere where people feel safe, trusted, empowered and positive.
Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for a day, who would it be?
Q. Favourite Business book?
I tend to read articles not books. I follow Jim Power and John McCartney both economists I respect.
Q. How do you relax?
Gardening, walking, traveling and meeting with friends.
Q. What’s your motto?
The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
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