Charlie’s time in Airline Engineering Finance

Having started on the TUI Finance Graduate Programme last September, it has been a fantastic journey so far. I have learnt an incredible amount and thoroughly enjoyed my experiences. My first role has been as a finance analyst in the Engineering team of Airline Finance playing a part in the team that business partners and supports the Thomson Airways engineers with their expenditure.

My largest responsibility is the overheads of the different areas of Engineering. In Airline Finance the individual teams carry out their own month end process, which involves forecasting, posting journals, balance sheet reconciliation, cashflow forecasting and preparing business packs to present to the engineers. These ‘end to end’ responsibilities have given me great experience and it has been a huge learning curve. I couldn’t have asked for more support, towards work and CIMA, and I believe TUI’s people are a huge part about what makes it so enjoyable. That isn’t to say that we don’t work hard too.

One of the many team Christmas parties!
One of the many team Christmas parties!

The most interesting and challenging part so far was budget. I was given full responsibility to deliver the Engineering Overheads Budget for Financial Year 2015-16. This was a brilliant opportunity to develop my relationships with the engineers and there’s always quite a lot of banter keeping things very light-hearted and fun. I was stretched to work independently and focus on attention to detail. The added pressure and longer days were always my own choice; as it was a question of wanting to deliver to the best of your ability proving your capabilities, rather than ever feeling pushed by management. I think this balance of being given responsibility, but also great support, further represents the excellent TUI culture. Once we had the numbers, the Reporting team’s commentary requirements on the movements year on year ultimately helped me piece together my understanding. The budget review meetings with the Head of Engineering and the Airline FD were fantastic and very entertaining experiences. Not only did they give me insight to the challenges that are imposed from the top, but it was a chance to gain exposure and provided real pride and satisfaction seeing the work we’d delivered being put to real use by senior directors.

In the Dreamliner 787 cockpit.
In the Dreamliner 787 cockpit.

As a thank you for our hard work, my manager organised a tour of a 787 that was being reconfigured with a seat swap in the Hangar. I have had the opportunity to go on a few tours which were really fascinating and insightful. They brought to life Thomson Airways’ product and I love how the engineers are so generous with their time. Their true passion comes across so strongly when they are questioned about the aircraft and their work. They even let me sit in the cockpit!

Another highlight was the Airline Finance Team away day. Our FD organised a fantastic day of workshops which were really beneficial and meant we learnt lots about each other. We all had to share something that we were proud of, that the team wouldn’t know, and everyone’s were really interesting and impressive. Another exercise

Airline Finance team away day
Airline Finance team away day

involved building a ramp with various elements. It sounds easy, but it really tested our team-working capabilities and helped us to understand how we work together, even when tested in such a practical task. The day was based in some very smart offices in the City, which was an exciting and rather glamorous day out followed by a fun meal and drinks at Las Iguanas.

To sum up, it’s been work hard play hard so far which suits me to a tee! With an extremely competitive monthly Airline Finance bake off, a fun couple of Christmas parties and cool tours of various aircraft in the hangar – it’s definitely not all just spread sheets and revision!

Charlie

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