Meet Richard Barton who talks to us about his career in Finance

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
I graduated from Warwick University in 2016 with a 2:1 in Economics. Unsure of what to do but certain I didn’t want to move to London like a lot of my peers, I moved back to my home town of Nottingham. I originally started working at Specsavers through a temp agency and began with an open mind. With a statistical and problem-solving background, I quickly picked up skills in Excel and used this to get a more permanent role. A month later I received an offer for a fixed term position in Audiology which I gratefully accepted.

Within Audiology I was given every opportunity to further develop my skills, and finally left in October last year to join the Technology Development team.

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I work in development. Our sister Process Team maps the current processes used in Finance and we build the automated solutions where appropriate. It’s all about finding repetitive, time consuming jobs and working with teams to enhance their working experience. We free up time so people can focus on more analytical tasks which are unviable for automation.

I specialise in Robotics Process Automation (RPA) on the Uipath platform but have also recently started building solutions in the automated reconciliation tool ReconNET.

What does your typical day look like?
My job is project based, so it is genuinely the standard answer of “no days are the same”.  It completely depends on the week and the projects that I have in the pipeline. My manager is very supportive and often gives me free rein to tackle a new project.

There will be some weeks where I’ll have to work a few extra hours to get something over the line, and other quieter weeks where I can focus on personal development via online ReconNET or Uipath courses.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
Last month my colleague and I were given four days to build a RPA solution in Revenue Accounting. It is a process where the team run three reports for each UK optical store.  Given there are an ever-increasing number of stores, this is a very time consuming! We were able to complete it, and named the robot performing the work “Doris” as requested by the team.

Everyone seems happy with “Doris” as she(?) eases the month end time pressures. Seeing results like this makes successes feel more tangible and quantifiable.

How has Specsavers supported your development?
I think a lot of people can be pressured into further qualifications after university. The ethos at Specsavers is to encourage people to complete qualifications rather than to pressure them. Not jumping into a qualification straight away has given me time to reflect and focus on my career. In turn this has meant that I have partially moved away from finance and towards IT instead which I really enjoy. This open attitude has suited my mentality, and I’m sure Specsavers will be there to support when I decide to start anything new.

What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
I love the level of responsibility and trust in my job. I know that I do my work, and so does my manager. She allows me to concentrate on achieving both company and personal goals and she provides the support during times when I need it. This really motivates me.

The biggest challenge is that every build always has an element of the unknown. By this I mean there are problems which haven’t been solved before, so there is no-one to ask.  Instead it’s a case of logically trying different inputs to see if you can eventually reach the desired outcome. Some days, you can spend a whole day just to get one tiny component of a build to work!

Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Flexible, open, supportive.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
Like with any job, come with an open mind. There are so many different roles within the Nottingham office and Specsavers in general that it is a great place to learn about yourself and find the field that suits your personality the most.

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