Chris Hayes knew what he wanted to be from an early age. When he was around 14 years old, Chris decided to be an accountant in the future because Maths was his favourite subject.
After school, Chris studied Business Administration and Management at Kingston University. Whenever there was an optional module on accountancy, Chris signed up. After graduating Chris did a few short-term jobs, including a spell in a manufacturing company, before he discovered Syscap.
“I was attracted to the role at Syscap because financial services seemed like a good industry to be in,” says Chris. “Plus, Syscap offered training packages to help with my accountancy qualifications, and the location was good.”
Chris worked his way steadily up the ranks in the accountancy team, moving from Accounts Assistant to his current role of Financial Planning Manager. In that time, the department has gone from five people to nine, with two managers.
For the last two years, Chris has been in charge of managing someone else on the team. “It was a challenge to get used to it at first, because it was a new and alien set of skills. I was used to drilling down into numbers, but had to learn to do more organising and planning.”
Since Chris joined the team in 2002, Syscap has seen many changes: “There used to be more wide-boy sales people – I heard one was once so loud in a restaurant, he offered to pay for everyone else’s meal. I can’t imagine anyone at Syscap now being that rude!”
Reporting has also changed in Chris’ 14 years with Syscap. “Reporting used to be one or two sheets of A4 every now and again, now it’s a 50 page reporting package that goes to the board every month!”
Chris’ favourite thing about his role is the variety and range of tasks: “There’s regular stuff you do every day then something different comes along, like project work. No two months are the same.”
Looking to the future, Chris has big hopes that new investment from Wesleyan will help his team become more efficient through improved reporting systems. “My biggest bugbear is the software, getting all the programmes to talk to each other. We are investing in streamlining the systems so we spend more time on analysis instead of counting the same thing 20 times in different ways!”
Chris is looking forward to the developments and changes that will come under Wesleyan ownership, predicting that “in five years’ time, I can see us being a bigger funding house in our own right, not just a broker.”
Outside of work, Chris enjoys catching up with his large extended family. “We’re dotted all around the place – I’m originally from Devon, and still have family out that way, but some are also closer to home.”
At the weekend, there’s nothing Chris likes better than to retire to a cosy pub to have a few drinks with friends or family. He might be spending more time outdoors soon though, as he has signed up for a challenging 100km Richmond to Brighton walk with colleagues, to raise money for Dimbleby Cancer Care.
“When I signed up, I said to myself that it couldn’t be that difficult, and the countryside on the way would be really scenic. But thinking about it now I’m beginning to realise that it could be quite tough! I’ve bought myself some new walking boots and over the next couple of weekends I am going on practice walks to prepare.”
Even if he gets terrible blisters, Chris will be pleased to support a good cause: “We’re raising money for Dimbleby Cancer Care because they are helping the family member of a colleague, so we wanted to do something in solidarity.” Let’s hope it goes well!