Interview with an FD; Steven Payne

March 23rd 2015 | Posted by phil scott


Steven Payne FD, Bizspace Ltd

Steven Payne FD, Bizspace Ltd

How did you get where you are today?
I left school at 16 and joined a bank. Whilst there, I undertook my banking exams through its management training programme. One of the modules focussed on accounts and I found that I really enjoyed this, so when I left the bank I looked for an accounting role.

I moved to Citroen, working out of the head office, and attended night school to gain my ACCA qualifications. Studying after a full day’s work can be difficult, and I did that for five years, but I never regretted not going to university, especially as everything has worked out ok for me.

I was with the car company for 11 and a half years altogether, which included roles as financial accounts co-ordinator, financial accountant and, later, financial sales administration manager. Following that, I joined Orion Media Marketing, which is how my links to my current role came about.

Gareth Evans, who is the managing director of Bizspace, was the finance director there at the time. I had been with Orion for seven years when it was taken over by Westcoast, a move which saw Gareth leave the company. He then joined Bizspace as FD and was shortly afterwards promoted to MD. Soon after, I received a call asking if I’d like to make the move and join him as his financial controller. After four years with Bizspace I was promoted to finance director.

What does your job entail?
Bizspace provides business property to rent, including office space, storage, industrial units and meeting rooms. The company has 97 sites throughout England and Scotland which consist of a mixture of business centres, industrial estates and business parks.

My main role as the finance director is to look after the finance team. Our biggest challenges are keeping on top of empty rates charges, and monitoring the capital expenditure of the property team. We also produce board reports and balance sheets at the end of every month.

A major issue we have faced in recent years is the recession forcing down the rent rates that businesses are willing or able to pay. But things are starting to pick up, and turnover is currently £29m across all of our sites.

What makes a great FD?
My role at Bizspace is my first as a finance director and I saw it as a natural progression from my previous work. I don’t think there is a set path that you can follow which makes you a great FD. That said, I think it’s very important to find time for the people who report to you, and to be able to recognise if they are struggling or need help.

What do you enjoy outside of work?
I like to keep quite active. I swim regularly, but unfortunately I had a knee operation last year that put an end to quite a lot of my favourite activities such as squash, five-a-side football and running.

I love going to concerts and my particular favourites are David Bowie and Gary Numan. I really enjoy the experience of going to the cinema and go quite often.