curriculum vitae

Developing business and balancing books

Julie Savage

Savage Consulting - Co-founder

the Image Refinery - Commercial Director

 

I am a qualified business and accounts administrator. On leaving school my first job was with an international electronics company based in Crawley. It was a different age then, and as a newbie in a large secretarial pool, it soon became evident that the management tier you were assigned to was about more than your shorthand and typing speed! But the company provided an excellent training programme and gave me the skills to move forward with my career.

In 1978 I applied for a position as receptionist with a local printing company. This is where I first met Kevin, who later became my business partner and husband. After a year I transferred to the accounts department and trained on a Burroughs B2500 System to administer the company accounts and payroll for 70 employees - apparently the primary skill being adept at repairing punch tapes!

During the final stages of a print management programme being developed by Richard Lee and Kevin, I was tasked with beta testing it alongside my normal activities. Can you imagine the joy? With the successful transfer to the new system it became apparent to the company directors that the accounts department was over-staffed. I was offered the position of office manager in their newly opened direct mail division. I jumped at the chance, anything to get away from the interminable hours of data entry. Only to discover my first job was inputting about 9,000 names and addresses from the ABTA Handbook onto a mailing database developed by Richard and Kevin.

Around 1985 Kevin approached me explaining he had the opportunity to start a publishing business. He had acquired an established title with a small subscribed circulation. He would look after the magazine design, production and advertisement sales and an experienced travel journalist had agreed to edit the publication. All he needed was somebody to join at director level who could manage the company’s administration and commercial activities. Keen to take charge of my own destiny I agreed to the appointment. Sadly after three years, what started as a great adventure ran out of money and the company ceased trading.

Our son was born in 1989 and after a few months maternity leave I undertook a variety of part time jobs; in the accounts department of printing group (ironically using a version of the software co-developed by Kevin six years earlier), typesetting classified ads for a local newspaper and on the checkout at a local garden centre.

In 1994 I started work as an accounts clerk for a family owned, Sussex based beers and soft drinks wholesaler exporting to the EU and overseas markets. Given the large value of their sales and purchase transactions I was surprised to discover they still used a manual accounting system. Fortunately my double entry book-keeping knowledge made adapting back to maintaining Twinlock ledgers a straight forward transition. After five years I was promoted to accounts manager responsible for: sales, purchase, nominal ledgers, cash books, payroll, international banking and foreign exchange.

The owner undertook all of the company’s sales and purchasing activity, so when he died in 2001 the business was in a state of flux. The family wanted to keep the company trading but had none of the personal contacts or acumen to take it forward. Aware of this situation, I proposed outsourcing the entire operation to Savage Consulting - personally undertaking sales, purchasing and logistics in addition to the accounting functions. This arrangement was accepted and I continue to manage this key account. Securing the future for this client, whose annual turnover exceeds £1 million, is my greatest challenge and proudest achievement. Together with my directorship responsibilities for Savage Consulting and the Image Refinery I have a pretty full life.

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