Team Spotlight – Meet Rich

Name: Richard Matthews

Position: Group Financial Controller

Years with the company: Over 3 years

Before FanFinders, the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had…

After finishing my English studies, I actually worked as a tree surgeon for a little while. Someone I know runs a firm of tree surgeons, so I just said ‘I need a bit of work, can I come and trim some trees?’

Any overlap between being a tree surgeon and finance…

I guess there was a lot of risk assessment [laughter].

Why finance…

Going back to start of my career, I was stuck about what to do and chatting to my dad. He said ‘every business needs a finance function’ and the rest is history [laughter]. At FanFinders, I particularly enjoy watching the growth. Because I track revenue and CPA daily, you can monitor the experiments happening across the team and it’s really interesting to see the impacts these have on our margins.

Do you feel like a translator at times…

It is interesting when you work with stakeholders who don’t have a grasp of finance – which is not so much of an issue here, and have to explain something like accruals. Those conversations of ‘I’m going to have to put through an accrual for this’ and getting a response like ‘What the f*ck is an accrual?’

Tell me about your career so far…

I started out as an accounts assistant in a massive UK manufacturer, and got a good rounded experience across financial accounts, commercial accounts and even operations. Then I moved into more of a business partnering role at a large media group, working with different heads in each of their sectors on budgets. So, coming to FanFinders, which in comparison to those two, was this small, growing company and that’s really part of what drew me to the position.

What was the attraction…

In bigger operations, you feel a bit like a number. Even with relatively senior positions and managing teams of people, you’re a small cog in a big machine. When I joined FanFinders, my remit was to support just as volume was increasing and work specifically with the commercial team on revenue tracking. Then I’ve taken on more and more responsibilities and it’s been quite the learning curve.

What have you learnt…

Because it’s a small business and growing, learning on the fly is always part of the equation. Probably the biggest eye-opener for me – because I’m comfortable with budgets and forecasts – has been the cashflow side. It has been about getting more granular with things. I also think you can learn from the individuals we have in the team, as people like Adam [Gillett], Alec [Dobbie] and Neil [Stephenson] are very commercially-minded. These guys have grown this business from scratch and there is lot to take from that.

And working with Ben [Margolis, CFO]…

Small business finance is his bread and butter – he’s a great sounding board and so good because any scenario we come across, he’s probably dealt with it at some stage. I sometimes keep him on the phone a bit longer to get some of that wisdom.

What’s next for FanFinders…

With the development of V3, we’re continuing to build that vital technological foundation. We obviously need to keep the foothold we have in the UK market and in the US – purely from a volume perspective – there is a massive opportunity to really kick on.

Best thing about working here…

That you get to know the individual areas of the business. At bigger places, you might just see the budgets or top line numbers. Whereas here, with the exposure, you get more of an end-to-end experience of what’s happening. The ‘highs’ for the business are also really high, because you feel included when something goes well. We are a tight-knit unit and that clearly stems from the top.

You have to write a self-help book. It’s about…

How to be nice in business – the very least you can do is be a decent person.

How’s your fantasy football season going…

I’m a big fan of football, but I’m one of those fantasy managers that picks their team at the start of the year, then never bothers with transfers or looks at it again.

This feels like a chance to use your spreadsheet skills…

That’s a good idea. Like I say, I enjoy picking the team and the team name, but by the time I get around to looking at my team, someone has been out injured for 6 months or sent on loan to Real Betis. I have no idea where I am in the league.

What you can’t live without… 

In 2020, it has been wine subscriptions.

One holiday spot in the world to visit…

I went to Thailand last year and it was my first time being in Asia. I really enjoyed it and I’ve always said I would go back to that part of the world. In the UK, I like the Lake District. So probably one of those two.

The one meal you’d eat every day for the rest of your life…

I like Meze.

That feels a bit like cheating, it’s so many dishes…

Fine, we’ll go souvlaki. Or I do love a Sunday roast. Though the latter always tastes better when it’s made by someone else.

The TV show/movie you’re ashamed to admit you watch…

I did have a spell where I re-watched The OC. And I am partial to a bit of Midsomer Murders.