A Day in the Life… Angela Bennett, financial director, Diamond Electronic Systems
This month HRNI speaks to Angela Bennett, financial director, Diamond Electronic Systems
Angela Bennett, financial director,
Diamond Electronic Systems
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am the financial director of Diamond Systems, a specialist fire and security alarm company founded by my father in 1987. I joined the business in 2008, having qualified as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton, and I am responsible for finance, personnel and marketing.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE SECTOR?
Diamond Systems has a variety of customers in the hospitality and tourism sector, most notably The Odyssey Complex, within which we installed all the electronic fire and security systems in 1999, and maintain to the present day. Over the past eight years within the company, I have developed an understanding of the needs and priorities of customers within this sector. This understanding has been helped through membership of organisations including the NI Hotels Federation, Institute of Directors and Belfast Chamber of Commerce.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
It’s great to be able to carry on the family business into its second generation as it has always been a huge part of my life from a very early age. The best part of my job is getting out and about to meet customers, and other business owners, as there is always something to be learnt from their experiences. Working in the family business has its challenges though, and you do find yourself‘talking shop’ when together as a family outside of work, but overall it is definitely a very rewarding and satisfying experience.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
Fire and security alarm systems are often viewed as a grudge purchase, purely to comply with legal or insurance requirements. As an innovative specialist in our field, Diamond Systems offer solutions which actually add value to businesses within this sector. For example, our fire alarm system eliminates false fire alarms caused by steam or cooking fumes. We also offer video analytics as a software add on for IP-based CCTV systems (enabling facial recognition, queue management, people counting and profiling by age and gender, all useful information for marketing analysis, and identification of peak trading times).
OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
No two days are the same for me at Diamond Systems! One day I could be interviewing candidates for a new position, the next completing a tender, and the next producing the monthly management accounts, or an article for the company website. Typically in any one day I aim to accomplish four things, namely: get an overview of the current operations within the business; assess the cashflow; listen to staff and react accordingly to provide direction or support; and finally spot one opportunity for either business development, or continual improvement. I enjoy the variety that the role brings, as well as the involvement I have in the senior management team and in setting and monitoring the strategic direction of the business.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
My proudest moment to date was in obtaining the Investors in People accreditation for the company in 2010. I say this not only because of the formal recognition this brought the company, but also in respect of the journey I had brought the company on to get to that point, and the huge improvements we had made in line with best practice. I genuinely now believe that Diamond Systems is a ‘great place to work’, and an environment in which each individual plays their part, feels valued, and is rewarded; a process which ultimately benefits our customers
BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
It is wonderful to see the growth and the buzz within the local hospitality/tourism sector, and to be a small part of that in terms of service delivery to local hoteliers, bars and restaurants. The Diamond Team exhibited at the recent Hospitality Exchange event in the Plaza Belfast and the atmosphere and positivity at that event was unbelievable. The engagement at the event also led to a better understanding for me of the real challenges within the sector in terms of resource shortage, a problem which is equally faced in the local fire and security industry.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
I have two young children and enjoy nothing more than spending time at home with them and my husband. I do enjoy the occasional glass, or sometimes bottle, of wine to unwind at the weekend after a busy week in the office.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
During sixth form at Wallace High School I had applied to the University of Ulster, Magee to study Hospitality and Tourism, but had a last minute change of heart and applied to Queen’s University through the clearing process to study English instead, before going on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Accountancy. Had I gone to Magee to study Hospitality and Tourism, I might have been writing a very different article for this feature!
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