When Tom Mann joined WEX Europe as a finance analyst in August 2014, he had just completed a three-year post-grad stint at Jaguar Land Rover. That work gave him his accounting credentials and the desire for new challenges which he quickly realized as part of our virtual payments team in London. Tom’s growth at WEX includes a series of promotions that culminated in his July 2017 move to our Maine headquarters as senior manager, finance, for global corporate payments.
“Within two years of joining WEX Europe, I got more involved in global projects such as RFPs and negotiations with Mastercard and Visa – it was really an organic shift in my responsibilities as our business grew,” observes Tom. “That growth has also added lines of business through acquisitions that are now part of the finance team’s oversight, and we’re excited to work with these newer aspects of corporate payments.”
Financial Planning & Analysis
The fundamental work done by Tom and his team is FP&A – financial planning and analysis – for our virtual/enterprise payments offerings in the travel, health, and media industries, as well as the corporate payments side of the business. A key focus of financial planning is leveraging budgeting and quarterly forecasting to understand what the future of businesses looks like. Building on that work, the finance team creates an annual strategic plan – a 5-year projection of expected financial performance along with key drivers for growth.
On the analytical side of things, finance goes beyond crunching numbers to show actual versus projected performance. For example, customer pricing is an area where Tom’s team works with our sales and relationship management groups to help develop appropriate pricing models or offerings for potential and existing customers. In both cases, Tom says finance looks beyond the numbers and projections to understand business drivers that can increase revenue and reduce costs.
“Rather than sit and look at the numbers, finance tries to understand the context – who we are competing against, what market the customer is in, and what value we can sell beyond giving the best pricing in the market,” says Tom. “We work with our internal partners to make sure we thoroughly understand the customer and can come back with a compelling offer to ensure they stay with WEX for the foreseeable future.”
Data analytics that provides factual and regular insights into business performance is an increasingly important aspect of the work done by the finance team. This often focuses on how customers are using our products – for example, are they paying certain hotel chains more, or are they spending more in different markets. Identification and analysis of these kinds of trends can help our relationship management group better understand and service our customers.
Tom jokes that at some companies, finance is seen as “the team that sits in the cupboard and does spreadsheets.” At WEX, this is not the case. Tom believes that the strong relationships he and his team have with internal business partners make all the difference in helping them understand what’s going on with customers and how finance can help drive the business forward. According to Tom, that partnership and insight mean finance can always be an important voice in the room.
The significance of relationships also extends to Tom’s finance team, which includes two other WEXers. The team gathers information both from internal meetings and research, as well as informal conversations among colleagues. They then work to communicate openly and effectively with each other and their business partners, which can be challenging during times of rapid growth and change. However, Tom firmly believes that “with the right relationships, that knowledge flows naturally.”
Rapid growth and change have been a constant for Tom since joining WEX, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. That environment puts a premium on the ability of Tom and his team to act nimbly, pick up on new ideas quickly, and easily flip from one task to another. The interaction with colleagues and the dynamism of corporate payments are important elements for Tom, who notes that he can get bored easily, but that it’s never a problem at WEX.
“I really value the opportunity to work in a dynamic environment and to be empowered to make change happen,” says Tom. “The ability to challenge each other and debate in an open and safe way is another great aspect of our group, and I feel privileged to work with an amazing group of people who are very intelligent and also know how to have fun.”