Ask Accounts Payable Manager Valerie Henry, the Riverview veteran who’s been working at the company for a total of 16 years, in an array of roles, what the secret is to keeping track of nearly 50 RSG employees, plus the numerous union employees that work with the Riverview team at live events and the myriad of ancillary accounting items she’s responsible for and you get a simple answer: Organization, Communication, and Consistency.
Valerie took time to talk about her history as a Team Blue member and the evolution of her role.
Q. You have held various positions at Riverview in the financial realm. Tell us about your history at Riverview, and your current role as Accounts Payable Manager.
VH: I started working at Riverview part-time when I was in high school as the Accounts Payable Assistant. At first, the job required simple filing, but then I learned how to calculate hours, enter in invoices etc. I left Riverview for a while and returned in 2005 as Receptionist and Purchasing Agent. In this position, I helped out our AP Manager when needed drawing on earlier experience as an assistant.
I was offered my current position when it opened up in 2014. Since then I have implemented new procedures for employees to turn in hours and union workers to turn in forms to narrow the margin for error. I’ve received great feedback from our staff employee’s on these changes. I pride myself on being attentive and look over every invoice to ensure they are paid on time and take advantage of things like early pay discounts, which decreases Riverview’s overall spending.
Q. With nearly 50 full-time RSG employees and many union employees that work with the RSG team at live events, how do you keep track of items such as hours, expense reports and payments to vendors?
VH: Organization, communication and being consistent are key. These factors are important when entering expense report items so they are not submitted twice, organizing payments to our vendors and communicating with our hourly employees to make sure they’re hours are properly accounted for. I also work closely with Riverview department heads on creating systems to improve and streamline how hours are turned in, which benefits all our hourly employees and helps me stay organized.
Q. What are some of the changes you’ve seen over the years that have helped you support your Team Blue members? Have there been advancements in technology that have helped make your job easier? Similarly, what tool or technology could you not live without professionally?
VH: It’s an understatement but the Internet has changed everything in the accounts payable department and the way we handle payments to suppliers and other creditors. I cannot work without Google Drive now. Instead of receiving hours via fax (yes I was around when documents were faxed) or email, employee hours can be revised on a file in Google Drive and emailed to the department. With Google Sheets, any changes that need to be made happen in real time and hours can be inputted/updated in an instant. In some instances, I’ve needed to submit payroll an hour after receiving updates from the google sheet. I also cannot live without my 10-key keyboard.
Q. Describe what a typical day is like for you.
VH: My day-to-day work schedule revolves around the date when payroll needs to be submitted. If it’s payroll day then it’s like being a parent. There is no such thing as being on vacation, being sick or having an emergency. On those days, I don’t work on anything else until I hit that submit button. If I’m not working on the current payroll I’m actively preparing for the following one — entering in invoices, cutting checks or reconciling the credit card bill. About once or twice a year, when Riverview is involved in a large show, you’ll find me on a loading dock at 6:00 am or midnight assisting our Field Operations Director to marshal our gear to and from the show floor and collect union payroll forms. I enjoy being able to go out to show sites to see an event come to life.
Q. What would surprise people most about your job? What is your favorite part of the job?
VH: I think what would surprise people is that it takes an entire work day, sometimes longer, to reconcile the company credit card bill. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment once every single charge is entered into our system and the account is reconciled. The favorite part of my job is really the people that I work with. I’ve known so many of them since a young age and we are more like a family here and I love helping out whenever I can.
Q. Outside of Riverview we understand you are a fan of classic cars. Tell us more about that.
VH: Yes, I love classic cars. My mother had a 1970 Malibu back in the day. I always wanted a 1970 Chevelle SS and got one from my fiancé for my birthday. It’s a pet project — the car still needs an engine and bodywork — but we have the transmission for it. My daughter’s name is Chevelle and she loves classic muscle cars too. When she was just starting to talk and we were at the Good-Guys Car shows she would hear the engines rumbling and tires screeching from the autocross and say she wanted to see the “Vroom Vrooms”. Now she is six years old and says she wants to be an NHRA Drag Racer like Brittany and Courtney Force.
Q. Any recent movies you loved recently? TV shows you’re binge-watching? Favorite song or band at the moment?
VH: I watch a lot of Disney movies with my daughter, but once she is asleep I watch “The Real Housewives” religiously. On Netflix, I’m hooked on “El Chapo” and “Narcos.” After an episode, I’m always Googling the events that happened on the show because I’m usually in disbelief of some of the crazy things that happened in real life. I also love music. Music is always playing wherever I go. My playlist is diverse. I listen to everything from Tupac, Santana, Bob Marley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sublime, The Temptations. Rap, R&B, Rock, Alternative, Spanish, I listen to it all. It makes me laugh when my music is shuffling and it goes from Metallica to Vicente Fernández.