We’ve recently started introducing some of our people behind the scenes of every Venners service. Today we interviewed Duncan Colvin, one of our dedicated compliance auditors. Duncan is also part of our consultancy team so we’re sure you’ll be hearing more about him in the future!
How long have you been with Venners and what’s your current role?
“I have been with Venners for just over two years and I got the call soon after I started, to train with the compliance audit team.”
What’s the best part of your role?
“Compliance auditing gives you more time to really dig into the business and explore the till systems and back office spreadsheets. I think you need to be a bit of a maths geek.”
What’s the most challenging part of your role?
“It helps if the manager is engaged in the process, keeping them on side can be a challenge especially when completing night audits during nightclub opening hours.”
How did your education or past experiences prepare you for this job?
“My entire career has been working in hotels, restaurants and contract catering, as well as a long stint with my own businesses, so I feel I can empathise with all the managers I meet. It makes you more effective if you know the tricks but also understand the pressure some of the managers are under.”
Finish this sentence: The ideal way to start my day is…
“…arriving to find on-site parking and the smell of a freshly switched on expresso machine.”
Describe a typical day on the job.
“Most compliance audits start a little later than the early stocktaker starts, we need the manager on-site and, after having completed any opening rituals, free to assist us. Hotel and contract catering sites are calmer after breakfast. Initially there is often cash to count and justify against banking, then often an interview style quiz with the manager to ensure we know how the business is running, how the paperwork is organised and where all the files are maintained. We then spend a good part of our day noting any entries that are made made and what process was completed and then justifying them against till records or compliance logs. There are questions to be answered which we try to do all together rather than continually interrupting the site. We generally have to write a summary report but I tend to do that back at home, the journey back lets the words percolate a little and gives the report a bit of perspective.”
Why do you like working for Venners?
“It keeps me at the centre of the hospitality industry, that I love; but not at the sharp end, which I was falling out of love with.”
What would your colleagues say about what it’s like to work with you?
“God only knows, auditing is mostly a single handed job but we often cross paths and double up. I like to think of myself as the nice guy with a good auditors eye.”
What’s your proudest accomplishment at your job?
“When we are asked to audit sites on behalf of another company it’s very rewarding to be able to highlight an issue that when corrected will save the client money, make the site safer or preserve a client’s reputation. All three at the same site is rare but it does happen.”
Tell us a little bit about your life outside of work?
“I’ve been married to Leigh for 25 years and have two grown up daughters, both of whom are off doing their own thing. We have two cats and live in Axminster in gorgeous East Devon. In the new year, in a mad moment we signed up for an allotment; most of my time at home is spent regretting it!”
What was the first drink you ever had and what’s your favourite drink?
“I was a teenager through the 80s so my early drinking experience centres on Pernod and Black. Now any Islay Malt will do nicely.”