In today's people behind the brand, the series where you get to know the Orbis team, we sat down with Gintare Stasiunaityte, Associate Director & Finance Controller.
We chatted all about Gintare’s transition into finance, the key to harmony in a team, studying business management and dreaming of being a lawyer!
Let’s jump in.
Tell us about your journey to Finance…
I’ve always been a business-headed person.
I started studying geography a long time ago - I don’t know why, I think I made that decision because of my love for travelling and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Every time I started a new course, I knew I wasn’t in the right place and that business was the place for me.
I then went travelling and came back to England to study and went into business and finance and did a degree in business management and from there, I’ve always found it interesting.
I was in my last company for a long time and I had grown from just being in office support. I always had this curious mind in terms of looking at reports, how to save the business, how to make things work, and how to do something that would benefit the business. Somehow from those five/six years, I’ve found myself in a finance role.
What attracted you to Finance in Recruitment?
Oh, that's an interesting one.
I guess ever since I moved to London, I was mainly in hospitality and when I was graduating from uni I was looking for a new role or something involved more in finance. I knew nothing about Recruitment and there was a Recruitment company hiring for a Finance and Operations Manager so, I applied for the role and emphasised how much I wanted to be involved in the Finance side of things.
And that’s when I thought “If you can deal with the chefs, then you can deal with recruiters”.
I had no idea what I was getting into and it was a very different position from hospitality but it was fun and I’m glad I made the move.
What's the best part of the job?
Every day is different.
I’m a finance person and usually people expect accountants to be quite boring and set in their ways and I’m definitely the opposite. I do love a challenge and I love that every day is different because you will always have something new to learn which is always fun.
I couldn’t be the type of person to just focus on finance, and audits and sit with repetitive tasks so, so I do need that constant change. It’s never boring.
What's the biggest challenge?
The constant change.
As much as change can be exciting, it can also be a challenge because you have to become comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. It can be challenging to step outside and self analyse and ask questions like “Am I making the right decision?” or “Am I proposing the right solution?”. It can be difficult to be self-critical but for me, doing that is something I enjoy.
However, it can be a bigger challenge when you realise that maybe you didn’t make the right decision or propose the right solution so you have to find a way to do better and just accept that the mistake has been made.
What is something that you wish you'd known at the start of your career?
Worry less, everything is going to be okay.
In so many roles, especially in finance, you need all the background knowledge, education and analytical skills but at the same time as long as you continue to be curious, want to learn more and challenge yourself then you’ll be okay.
You were previously in Office Management, how did you find the transition into Head of Finance?
At work, a personal goal of mine is to be that person that people usually go to.
When I was working in operations, there were a lot of negotiations and support - it wasn’t a generic Operations Manager position. There was a lot more to do like finding out how to utilise time or if we can save money in a particular department, so there was already a lot of finance involved in this role.
The transition into finance just became natural as I had already been doing finance jobs before. I love working in finance and it was always something that I wanted to do so I decided that I didn’t want to do ops anymore and just focus on Finance. Once I was fully in finance, I realised that I was in the right place.
You graduated with a Bachelor of Business Management, tell us more about that. Do you think these skills transfer into your approach to work?
I don’t think that my university degree helped my current career.
It taught me many skills that have helped me today but because I’m an accountant, I had to do an accountancy qualification which I think has been more beneficial to my current role.
Business management is important but also very generic so when working in a recruitment company which is a very different industry, I don’t think it has helped as much. However, you do learn basic skills like leadership and a little bit of finance but the accountancy qualification is more valuable as you get to know the way that things should be done and ways to do it better.
I also think that you learn as you work because you can learn as many theories in university as you want but the practical skills are important to help you develop.
What do you think is key to harmony in a team?
I think I would say having consistency within the team.
I think it’s important that everyone in the team is delivering the same message and being very clear because we have very tight deadlines in finance. Everyone must understand what they have to do, what the expectations are and when this task needs to be completed.
I always say to my team that if they are ever confused or unsure of something, to communicate before the deadline. If they are unsure how to do something then we can solve this task as a team.
We had quite a big year this year by going through really big audits which was a bit of a test for the team but I think they handled it very well. We met all the deadlines and solved any issues that we found during the process so, I think the team did a great job!
In another life, if you weren’t an Accountant, what would you be?
I don’t think I’d be anything very exciting. For me, I always wanted to consider law - that’s another thing about me, I’m very geeky! So, I’d probably end up being a lawyer.