Chris Symons

Balance Sheet Accountant and SIB Rep

By trade, I am known as an accounting technician; I generally keep businesses’ financial records up to date and complete. This could be translated as doing lots of computer data entry with numbers (and a few words) and making sure they all add up to show how financially healthy a business is. I call myself a number nerd.

It’s hard to describe what I do on a day-to-day basis for Smile Together without talking ‘accounts speak’, but I can throw light on the areas I cover within the Finance Team. The work done by my colleagues on income/patient charges and suppliers bills feeds into what I do. I make sure the books are balanced for all areas where money is spent, and, to a lesser degree, earned. I prepare the monthly accounts for Smile Together and hand them over to Finance Manager Nick Findjan to present to the Team Leads and the Board. Additionally, I prepare a cashflow forecast to predict the business’ future ins and outs, maintain a register of our equipment and its values, and update the pension records for every colleague. I am also an elected Rep on our Shareholder Impact Board, representing my colleagues and in particular ‘sense-checking’ the way we communicate the company’s direction to colleagues, trying to ensure that the meaning is clear and we don’t get bogged down in jargon.

With every job, there’s always those little extras that need doing and these tend to come my way, which adds great variety to my weeks. I love having a good old dig around historical records of the financial kind, finding out what is wrong and correcting it. There’s also immense satisfaction knowing that the accounts I prepare balance to the penny and therefore present a true financial picture of the effect our work has – from the patient’s initial call through to paying the colleagues who make them better! The biggest challenge in my role is managing my time and tasks to make sure I meet the deadlines required of me.

I qualified as an accounting technician (AAT) in 1991 after several years working in chartered accountancy practice doing accounts without computers! I have worked with figures ever since, including being a volunteer treasurer for several organisations while my two girls were young. I spent the longest part of my working life as a GP Fundholding Manager in a 7 partner GP practice in Yeovil and I loved it! I enjoyed the patient contact, the ability to find quicker access for secondary (hospital) care for them and the negotiating with NHS trusts for services. I have been a self-employed bookkeeper for many years too. Believe it or not, I was inspired into this choice of career by failing my Music ‘A’ level! My mum said, “Well, you’re good at maths. Go and get an office job using that.” So I did. I had long hoped to become a singer and teacher. Before I discovered music, I wanted to be a nurse. Part of me still does. So I nurse the numbers instead.

What inspires me most about working in Smile Together is the health improvement aspect of our work whilst being aware of minimising our environmental impact in delivering such – it’s future-proofing in two ways. We are helping people, getting them out of pain and educating them to care better for themselves. I guess it was the same thing that I loved about working for the NHS; even though I’m working behind the scenes, what I do feeds into making daily life better for someone in need. I also love the social impact; the connections we have with the local communities; our ability and will to give to those who might not easily afford to provide themselves with any dental care. I would say that, if you have a will to be part of a team that works to improve the lives of strangers alongside an interest in doing that whilst minimising the effect on our environment, then join us! We have laughs and cakes too…

Outside of work I enjoy making people smile, often, though not exclusively, by singing folky/soft pop songs – yes, you read that correctly – and I arrange songs for a small choir I run in St. Day. I also enjoy binge-watching Scandi crime dramas – there’s so much more to them than the American stuff, Homeland being the exception.

The fun bit

Cats or dogs?

Surfing or sunbathing?

Manual or electric toothbrush?

Cornish cider or gin?

Mini or VW Campervan?

Peace and quiet or loud and lively?

Flossing or interdental brushing?

Full on roast or salad?

Football or rugby?

Rock or classical?

Under cover or outside in the elements?

Both. Though I love cats’ sneaky intelligence

Neither these days 


Whisky. White Wine – Sav Blanc if you’re buying! Brandy in my hot chocolate

Campervan – hippy at heart

Peace and quiet

Um…. I have some interdental brushes…

Roast. With my gravy.


I’m open-minded. Love music from Eastern Europe though – boy they know how to harmonise!

Outside. I was raised in t’North

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