Ever wondered how a finance department shapes an organisation? Luke Coppen tells us how his team have kept a strong heartbeat for Denbury Homes during its first year

Tell us a little more about you and your journey at Denbury Homes…

It’s certainly been a journey of growth, for both me personally and Denbury Homes. I joined Hopkins Homes, our former sister company, in April 2021. Eight months later, I transitioned to Hopkins & Moore as the financial controller. After a year, as we rebranded as Denbury Homes, I was promoted to my current role as Head of Finance.

I began my career at Ballams, a small accountancy practice in Ipswich. There, I completed my Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) exams as well as my chartered exams with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to gain the qualifications I needed for a profession in finance.

How did you find working at Denbury Homes at the beginning of its exciting new chapter? I’m sure your financial expertise has had a huge impact on a successful first year.

Since rebranding as Denbury Homes, there has been a real startup buzz, despite the company being part of the East Anglian landscape for almost 40 years!

My background in accounting prepared me for leading the finance team and was an excellent basis for navigating through difficulties and steering towards growth whilst overseeing and managing various financial functions within Denbury Homes.

There is a remarkable amount of experience between the five of us in the finance team, and this has guided us through the inaugural year. As head of finance, I am incredibly proud of the talented, well-rounded team we have built.

Teamwork makes the dream work. What about as a whole… how do you ensure effective communication and collaboration not only in your team but with other departments?

Whether it be Sara our Director of Sales & Marketing, Nick the Director of Operations or Joshua our Land Director, we all talk on a regular basis. We discuss topical issues and ideas, which are filtered down into our teams, and our recently refurbished open-plan office makes this communication more seamless and inclusive.

Whilst we all work in an often fast-paced and wide-ranging environment, we are extremely good at balancing the books and keeping the financial aspect sailing smoothly. The finance team keeps everything flowing and ensures that each department can operate effectively, from ensuring suppliers are paid promptly and fairly, to meticulously evaluating our cash flow before making important investment decisions. The old saying ‘cash is king’ rings true in our department.

I’ve heard lots about the fun that happens in the office. How does it being open plan help collaboration?

Our shared goal is to sell high-quality homes, which involves us working as one team. The open-plan office enables everyone to be up-to-date and involved in the decisions that contribute to our growth.

Collaborative working is always encouraged and there is a strong emphasis on open communication and idea-sharing. We also have a games room. It’s the ideal setting for inspiring our teams to have vibrant open discussions, bounce ideas off one another and contribute to problem-solving between departments.

In this kind of environment, no question or idea is a silly one and everyone is kept in the loop.

That sort of culture is key when needing to stay current with trends, especially within the dynamic housing industry. What steps do you take to keep updated with any financial regulations?

I think the housing market affects us all, especially if you’re interested in owning a house so I naturally stay informed about industry trends. The House Builders Federation (HBF) – the organisation that awarded us our five-star rating – is a vital resource for industry updates, which helps us adapt to changing marketing conditions and gives all house builders a voice.

Over time, I have built up a strong network of connections which enables me and the team to gain valuable insights and foresee upcoming challenges and opportunities on the road ahead, helping to navigate the evolving landscape of the housing industry and wider economy.

Staying well-informed of the latest trends and market demands is the basis for enhanced customer satisfaction and exceptional design standards, resulting in us achieving our five-star rating award from the HBF – one of the most recognised marks of quality in the house building industry!

And what an incredible, well-deserved achievement that was in the first year of operating. I’ve heard that it is the Denbury Difference that contributed to this… could you tell me what this means to you?

Everything from time, effort, teamwork and community – everything that goes into each plot is a mark of quality.

We take time to build our homes, which is a true testament to their quality. We create a community and keep the landscapes we build in at the forefront. We give back through the Denbury Charitable Fund and invest in local projects, schools, playing fields and amenities. We create beautiful homes, thriving communities and a pleasant place for families, newcomers and couples to live. That’s what the Denbury Difference means to me.

Delivering houses of exceptional design for aspirational people

For almost 40-years Hopkins & Moore have been building homes across East Anglia. Now, we have renamed to Denbury Homes but are still setting new standards for exceptional design and customer service.