Sarah Mennell

Finance Controller at VolkerRail UK

The thoughts and perspectives from Sarah Mennell, Finance Controller at VolkerRail UK

March 4, 2022
Mar 8, 2022
International Women's Day
Introduction  and Biography

After graduating with a first-class honours degree in Accounting and Finance, Sarah Mennell joined the audit department of PKF Leeds as part of their graduate training programme and trained to become a chartered accountant.  

After qualifying, she worked for two years for PKF in Auckland, New Zealand, in their audit and tax team. Upon returning to the UK, she joined VolkerRail as Finance Manager for a company within the business turning over c£3m per annum and, after taking on various roles throughout her VolkerRail career, she is now Corporate Finance Controller for the group turning over c£250m.

We’ve worked with Sarah for a number of years and it’s great to share her thoughts, experiences and influences with our network.

Who has been your role model / most inspirational figure?

I have worked with a few inspiring individuals throughout my career, however it is not just a question of having the knowledge and experience to fulfil a role, it is the personal qualities that create inspiration.  It is those who take the time to help you learn, those who show enthusiasm for what they do, those who recognise and appreciate hard work, those who can empathise and those who stand up for what they believe in – it is the people that demonstrate these qualities who are most memorable and impactful, and who create inspiration in others.

What are good strategies to help women achieve success in the workplace?

A good strategy for success is to focus on your personal strengths.  Always be confident in who you are and what you can achieve.  Be genuine and true to yourself, and not try and be someone you aren’t in order to compete with others.  Be focussed on your goals, and when combined with hard work and determination this will undoubtedly lead to a successful career.

What do you think 2022 has in store for UK businesses?

The last couple of years have been challenging for all UK businesses, although the extent of those challenges has been largely dependent upon the sector a business operates in.  Regardless, all businesses have had to review the way they operate, look at different ways of working, review their cost profile and pursue alternative methodologies. Adaptation and change have been the key to survival, and most businesses will emerge stronger as a result.  In2022, we should start to see renewed optimism offering new opportunities based upon those rebuilt foundations.

What do you love most about your job?

I have been in my current role for 20 years, although the role has changed significantly over that time.  I have built up significant business knowledge which means that I can work confidently in a wide range of areas, offering sound insight and valuable experience across many different financial matters.  As a result of this, the role has remained varied and interesting throughout; there is always something new to get involved in, different people to work with, and original challenges to face.  No two days are ever the same!

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