Alison Peakman

General Manager – Finance Service Centre

What does your current role involve?

My role is to drive the provision of ‘best in class’ financial shared services for STW. I look after the Finance Service Centre which carries out activities including paying our suppliers, collecting cash from some of our customers and producing our financial and management accounts. I have about 75 people, split into 5 different teams.

How did you start- what’s been your career path so far?

My background is as Chartered Accountant in practice. I’d worked internationally and in a number of different areas with my previous company for nine years and was looking for a new challenge. I saw my previous role at Severn Trent advertised and it was the first one I’d seen which I felt excited about. I’ve now been here nearly three years and am in my second role.

How has working at Severn Trent challenged your expectations?

The Finance Service Centre operates in the context of a number of company wide integrated processes supported by SAP. Due to this, my finance team has to work much more closely with the operating business than I was expecting. This opens up opportunities for my teams to build a much broader business understanding than in a traditional finance department, as well as allowing them the ability to add value both within, and outside of finance.

What’s been the biggest surprise about working here?

The new, modern, head office in Coventry is a great place to work. Having an open plan office, and being able to go and talk to people across the company so easily creates a brilliant collaborative atmosphere. Learning about the broad range of services Severn Trent provides across the Group, as well as what a water and sewerage company actually does as part of it’s operations, has been a surprise compared to my expectations when I joined. It’s been really interesting, and continues to be every day!

What do you like about working here?

I like the company’s approach to people. It values who you are and treats individuals as an asset to the business. The importance of health and safety in the culture demonstrates that.

What are you most looking forward to in the short, medium and long term?

To answer all three, I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to develop our approach to retail business competition, which is a significant change affecting the water industry. It could mean that water companies need to adopt a different operating model to the one we have now, so it will be a really interesting challenge – both intellectually and practically.