PSE Associates’ Finance Director, Lorraine Carvalho, has been with the firm for six years. While her job title suggests she focuses on finance, in reality, her role is far broader than that.
“While I am responsible for everything related to finance, including preparing financial statements, I also co-ordinate HR matters and work alongside Colin [Rhodes] on health and safety too,” says Lorraine. “I make sure that everyone is up-to-date with any training they need as well.” When Lorraine left school, she was awarded a place at university but decided to go travelling in the US for six months with her sister.
“When I got back, I knew I had to get a job, so I made a list of things which interested me and those included banking, insurance, the army and accountancy,” she says. “Then I happened to walk past an accountancy firm on my way to the railway station in Hastings and decided then and there to knock on the door. I was extremely lucky that a female partner at the firm took the time to speak to me and, at the end of our chat, asked me if I could start on Monday!” After a little time in Hastings, Lorraine went to London to start a foundation course in accountancy. From there she joined a mid-sized firm in the City, where she spent eight years.
“I had an auditing role working with a wide variety of clients from sole traders to multinational companies,” says Lorraine. “I loved going to meet them and finding out about their businesses. To this day, I find a set of accounts absolutely fascinating as it tells a story about that business.”
Lorraine then took a career break while her three children were small but, when her youngest was nine years old, she started to feel a bit bored.
“I embarked on an Open University degree in the Art History and also started working as a finance officer for a primary school in Cranbrook, where we were living at the time,” she says. “It gave me useful experience of working for a local authority and I also got involved liaising with Kent County Council on policy issues, which I found incredibly interesting.”
She then moved down to East Sussex and applied for a job with an accountancy firm locally.
“I didn’t get the job but the lady who interviewed me called me the following week and said she’d heard of a role in Brighton which would suit me and that was with PSE Associates,” says Lorraine. “I didn’t know anything about the firm but was immediately impressed how friendly everyone was when I turned up for my interview and Colin offered me the job. I can honestly say that everyone has been lovely ever since and it’s continued to be a delight to work here. My work sees me dealing with everyone across the firm and the whole team supports me to make my job easier.”
She adds: “During my time working here I’ve come to understand how key quantity surveying is and just how much it contributes to the success of a project, making sure it comes in on time and on budget. Quantity surveying binds the project together.”
When not at work, Lorraine has continued her studies. She recently obtained her BA Hons in Art History and is embarking on an MA this autumn. It is an interest which has led to many trips to art galleries over the years. Lorraine also enjoys playing bridge, which she describes as ‘a good mental workout’.
In the meantime, Lorraine is working with fellow directors to drive the company forward and grow the business.
“We have a plan in place and that includes identifying and developing younger quantity surveyors and giving them the right training and exposure,” she explains. “It’s an exciting time to be here.”
PSE Associates provides traditional professional Quantity Surveying and Project Management services to many brand leaders in the leisure, retail and commercial sectors.