A Day in the Life: Geraldine Venables, Accounts Manager1 April 2021
Good bookkeeping is the backbone of any business and at Home Minders it’s a vital component of our added value management service as Geraldine explains.
“Providing our landlords with a tailor-made accounting service, which gives them the financial information they need to make informed decisions about their property portfolios, is key and it’s down to me at the end of the day.”
Geraldine has worked for Home Minders for over 20 years. “When I started, I was part of a three-man team. Paul then bought the business in 2011 and has built it up to what it is today, and my role has expanded along with the company. Just over a year ago we recruited Karen, my assistant and the success of the business now keeps us both busy!
In a nutshell my role covers collecting and making sure rents come in on time, issuing landlord statements, handling tenancy deposits, managing the purchase ledger and just about everything else to do with money.
Every day I look at the bank statements to check that our tenants have paid their rents on time and then we make deductions, which include expenses relating to the maintenance of the property along with our fees and then we pay our landlords. If the rents don’t come in on time, I chase them up by email or phone but as we work at the high end of the market, we very rarely have a problem.
Every time we receive a rental, we issue our landlords with a detailed and fully reconciled statement. This can be either monthly or quarterly and of course as no two accounts are the same, each one must be individually tailored.
Tenancy deposits were brought in during 2007, which means that when we get a new tenant their deposit needs to be registered in a separate account. When they move in, we register the deposit with the deposit scheme and issue a certificate. Thank goodness there are two of us doing this now.
When tenants leave, we deregister the deposit, work out adjustments including any dilapidations and then let the deposit scheme know how much we have deducted and who is getting what.”
Geraldine went on to say, “Membership of the National Approved Letting Scheme offers peace of mind to both our landlords and tenants and is conditional on us passing an annual audit by an independent company. It is vital that we keep all our financial information up to date to meet these defined standards of customer service.
Being pro-active is another key aspect of what we do. For instance, if there is a major expense coming up, we will get in touch with the landlord and get advance funds for the job so we can always pay our contractors in a timely fashion.
We have a hundred or so suppliers on our books, covering a wide range of different skill sets which generate a lot of invoices and we are also responsible for ensuring council tax is paid on any empty properties.”
Geraldine added, “Before COVID-19 we all worked in the office but of course the last year has been quite different. Initially we were working from home but had the opportunity to go back to a Covid-19 secure office in July, so since then it’s been a mix. I enjoy going into the office because at Home Minders we’re a team and we’re all working towards the same goals and I find that having all my files and paperwork to hand makes life quicker and easier. Attention to detail, a good understanding of how finance works and being diplomatic all come to mind when I think about what helps me in my role.
Apart from being interested in property I love browsing round auction rooms and picking up hidden treasures. After taking a course in French polishing, I restored a lovely Art Deco piano, piece by piece, to bring it back to its former glory.
2021 is going to be all about new business and I am looking forward to playing my part in our strategic business plan.”