A day in the life of PAM’s Head of Finance
Featuring Gareth Williams based in our West Malling office
Q. What do PAM Finance do?
Finance are an integral part of the PAM team – we are ultimately responsible for handling and processing all of our client’s money, therefore, it is essential that we get the basics of property management finance right.
- timely billing & collection of all rents & service charge sums due,
- prompt remittance of funds to clients and
- effective management of all accounts payable & receivable.
This provides us with the platform to then offer additional services to our clients
- such as loan compliance reporting,
- cash flow forecasting and all associated tax administration
- including CIS, Non Resident Landlord and VAT returns
Q. What was your route to being the Partner in charge of PAM’s Finance team?
As part of my degree course I spent a sandwich year working for Peer Group Plc within their finance team. This gave me my first exposure to the property world and after returning to University to finish my degree I decided to pursue my accounting qualifications within the property sector. My first job was at Knight Frank LLP within the Property Management department as an accounts junior looking after accounts payable, receivables and all associated treasury tasks. I spent the next 16 years of my career at KF, achieving my ACCA qualifications and progressing to the role of Partner where I led the London KF PAM finance team. In late 2018 I made the move across to Gerald Eve.
Q. What’s the best part of the job?
I get to work with some great people and the job allows us to work with interesting clients from private investors through to global institutions. It is important that we are able to offer clients a personable service – this involves meeting with clients regularly and understanding the wider strategy in place for portfolios and individual assets – therefore no two clients are the same.
Being a fairly new team also allows me to be heavily involved in developing the systems that we use and our own internal processes and procedures – then constantly monitoring these to ensure they are always fully compliant with statutory legislation and RICS codes.
Q. What achievement makes you proud?
From a personal perspective I have a fantastic family with two young boys who I am slowly teaching about football and why they need to support Burnley FC – I’m sure they won’t thank me for this! In terms of career I have had the opportunity to pitch for and work on some fantastic instructions & iconic buildings, which have then developed into entire finance functions being outsourced to us. This completely changed the services that we were able to offer clients to include full corporate/fund accounting and whilst this was a huge challenge it was very rewarding! However, hopefully my biggest achievement is currently a work in progress… to help grow the Gerald Eve PAM business so that we can establish ourselves as a market leading team who clients want to partner with.
Q. How does technology help you in your job?
Technology and the systems that we use are vital as they effectively house our entire lease and financial data. Over recent years we have seen the importance of apps and the ability to work remotely – this has helped us improve efficiency though simple tasks such as approving supplier invoices on mobiles/tablets – however this has quickly become the norm, so it is important that we continue to look at how we work and what software / solutions we use.
From my perspective the more information and transactions that we can process electronically the better as it will allow us to enhance how we report to clients (and all other stakeholders) and manage cash more effectively.
Client portals allow real time access to our database meaning that clients have full transparency and visibility on all the information that matters across their properties such as debtors, critical lease events and all financial reporting. Likewise for tenants and suppliers, portals allow suppliers to upload invoices or tenants to access rental demands and securely arrange payments. By integrating these portals with our management system we can reduce processing time, automate procedures and improve accuracy & efficiency.
However, whilst it is important that we are aware of the evolving technology we don’t necessarily need to implement all of it. It is more important that we implement change where it adds value to our clients and the services we provide – by doing this we will ensure that we are flexible so that we can adapt with change.
Gareth Williams – Partner
T: +44 (0)17 3222 9943