Interview with… Kate Wigglesworth, Knauf UK Finance Director
Over the course of the year, Knauf will be speaking to women across the business as part of a Women in Construction series. The next blog in the series comes from Kate Wigglesworth, Knauf UK’s Finance Director who discusses her role and the challenges that will lie ahead for our industry.
Hi, I’m Kate and I’m responsible for overseeing the full Knauf UK balance sheet and profit and loss with a revenue in excess of £250million as well as approximately 30 staff who work across customer administration, finance and IT. The result of all our processes here at Knauf end up in the financial result in some way or another so I am fortunate to be involved with most of the teams and activities across our organisation.
There is usually an interesting mix of operational issues and long-term strategy in my role as well as internal and external stakeholder interactions with banks and insurance companies. However, my role is not just about numbers and much of my time is dedicated to developing people and improving what we do and how we do it to create value and offer better service to our customers. I enjoy the variety of topics and teams I get involved in as well as the interesting blend of operational, strategic and project challenges – no two days are ever the same!
I was attracted to Knauf as a company for two main reasons. Firstly, the Company Values of Menschlichkeit, Partnership, Commitment and Entrepreneurship which have their roots from when the Knauf Group started in the 1930s, but you can still see and feel them in action today across the organisation. There’s a real family atmosphere where we support each other and take pride in what we do which makes Knauf such a great place to work.
As a finance professional, I like working in a manufacturing environment where you are part of making a tangible product. As Knauf is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of lightweight building products and systems, it gives me the opportunity to be part of a company that makes products that are used in homes, hospitals and schools which is definitely something to be proud of.
One of my aims for this year is to focus on improving service to our customers. I am also continuing my professional development so I am able to keep giving my best to my teams and the Knauf business as a whole. Working on the next phase of our business transformation will take up a lot of my time this year. That will cover everything from creating development opportunities, improving how we do things, and strengthening how we manage change so that we remain competitive and win in our industry.
The opportunities we have ahead of us as result of automation are incredibly exciting. Part of my role will change significantly as we improve processes and become more efficient with the help of artificial intelligence. Of course, there will still be situations and responsibilities where human judgement will remain important and we will never be able to fully delegate all of our responsibilities and systems to automated systems: it’s vital to still have oversight.
The current uncertainty around Brexit may mean we need to change the way we work. However as with any change to our operating environment, what is certain is that my role will require me to understand these changes, how they will impact the business and how we can best adapt our processes to deal with the change. The future might pose lots of uncertainties, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to!