Bernie Fairbrother - Operational Finance Manager

Bernie Fairbrother is Operational Finance Manager. She has worked for ExtraCare for 22 years. Here, she tells us about her job...

Bernie Fairbrother, ExtraCare's Operational Finance Manager.

I didn’t like maths at school but when I left we were in a pretty tough recession so I took the first job that became available which happened to be in accounts. I found out then that I really did enjoy working with maths and it was completely different to what we were doing at school. I came to ExtraCare when I was 30 as a finance assistant.

At that time I’d just given up playing ladies football. I used to play centre half and was in the Women’s FA Cup Final in 1985. I’ve been involved in sport most of my life and I was either at school playing sport or I was away for weekends playing sport – I’ve never really been a home person. I don’t know what else I would do if I didn’t have a job to come to. I prefer to be at work than to be at home. I’m up at 6.15am.

Every day is different. I can come in with a plan for what I’m going to do that day and it can be thrown out of the window in five minutes. That’s one reason why my job is enjoyable; you never know what’s going to appear on your desk or who needs your help. It’s interesting.

I’m responsible for all the locations’ budgets and expenditure, and I have three management accountants who work with me. We prepare all the management accounts each month for every location. We assist the locations to manage their budgets during the year and to prepare their budgets.

I enjoy the work I do and I also enjoy the fact I can get out and about visiting locations and getting involved with other senior team members in contract negotiation.

I’ve been heavily involved in the opening of new Villages and meeting new and potential residents. It’s great when you go back and see how their life has changed since they have been living in an ExtraCare location, you can really see how it has been beneficial.

I think we are a friendly organisation. I have been rock climbing on an artificial wall, abseiling, horse-riding and canoeing with residents. I saw residents abseiling down the side of a wall in a wheelchair, it was absolutely amazing.

In the past, I have worked for big organisations where the profits benefit the shareholders and the person who owns the business. We are very resident focused and it’s all about making sure their older life is as enjoyable as their younger life was, if not better.

It’s very satisfying when you can go home at the end of the day and think you have benefitted somebody’s life rather than making somebody else a bit richer.