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Finance Manager, Michael Hearns, shares his 18-year journey…

A man of many talents…. when he has not got his eye on the numbers, Michael is a keen pianist, having decided to take formal lessons in 2016. Two years later he has rapidly progressed to grade 6 and received the highest grade of distinction that his teacher had witnessed.

Michael also enjoys mountain biking and, over a six-day period, cycled 344 miles along the Reivers route through Tynemouth and Kielder Forest before heading back to Tynemouth via Workington and Whitehaven along the coast-to-coast cycle route.

 I have been in finance for around 20 years, and in 2000 I joined Fone Logistics (which at the time was the parent company of Activ Technology) as their Credit Control Team Leader.  During this time, I helped to develop the company’s credit policies and oversaw the collection of customer accounts.

I was fortunate as I was encouraged to develop my career with the company. So, I studied for the Diploma in Credit Management and went on to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

In 2010 I progressed into a Management Accountant role. Shortly afterwards, Fone Logistics was acquired by Daisy Distribution and I moved over to Activ Telecom (now Activ Technology) to take up the role of Management Accountant.

I worked closely with our Managing Director, Ian Gillespie, as we grew the business to enable it to offer not just mobile solutions but a full range of IT, energy and communication solutions, so offering customers an integrated service.

Our technology division has grown dramatically in the last three years, and over the past 12 months we have seen its annual revenues grow by 78% – a fantastic achievement.

In January 2013, we rebranded to become Activ Technology and I was appointed Finance Manager.

Why have I remained with the company?

The answer is simple! I have been able to continually progress my career and gain valuable qualifications, including the Diploma in Credit Management, Certificate in Business Accounting and between 2010 -13 I completed the CIMA qualification with Kaplan Financial and achieved the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

I could not have done this without the support and backing of the team. The company is family run and this breeds a nurturing culture. Ian has invested in my development and working within an independent firm means there is a lot less red tape and decisions can be made quickly.

A highlight came in 2013, when I helped leverage funding from NEL Fund Managers for business growth, followed by a further round of funding in 2017 from FW Capital.

This has enabled us to invest in new solutions and to attract, recruit and develop high quality technical personnel.

It is also important we attract the next generation of young people who are about to enter the workplace and that they develop the skill sets to ensure we maintain our competitive edge. It is for this reason we offer an apprenticeship scheme.

We work within a competitive environment and the challenge is to always think outside the box, adding extra value and benefit for our clients.

There are three of us within the Finance team, one of whom is Commission Analyst Kevin Raffles who, like myself, has progressed his career at the company and it is great to call upon his expertise.

My ambition is to progress to Finance Director and to continue to develop and build not just the Finance team, but to provide support and expert guidance that will assist our growth.


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