Natalija Mockienė: Good Things Happen When You Leave Your Comfort Zone

2023 May 12

What makes working in Vinted Finance so exciting? Meet Natalija, Accounting Team Lead at Vinted. We talked to Natalija about her path to Vinted and her career journey  from starting out in Vinted’s Community Support team, to becoming the Accounting Team Lead.

What’s your name and job at Vinted? 

I’m Natalija Mockienė, Accounting Team Lead. My teammates and I oversee the invoice processing function as part of the Accounts Payable team.

When and how did you join? Why? (Be honest!)

I joined Vinted 3 years ago. The story was nothing out of the ordinary. I was searching for new career opportunities and found a position that looked like something I would like to do. I did however find Vinted’s hiring process quite unusual – I’d never experienced a try-out day before. Looking back, it really helped me with my decision and gave me a feel for what the day-to-day work would look like. I got to know a few of my future team members, and felt I could bring value to the team.

How is Vinted’s mission important to you?

I relate to it, because it’s simply about doing good. It’s beneficial for the environment, necessary to increase an object's life cycle, and friendly for your bank balance. Of course, I’d be lying if I said that the minute I started working at Vinted, I stopped buying anything new. But joining the company kick-started my passion for exploring the second-hand market.

Tell us about your typical workday. Do you have a morning ritual?

There’s nothing typical about our workdays. On ‘normal’ days, the first part is filled with Slack notifications and meetings. After that, I focus on project- and process-based tasks. Each month, every accountant faces the end of the financial month closure period. It’s a busy time, with all hands on deck, and regular routines tend to go out the window, as everything must get done.

I don’t have any morning rituals. But I try to keep up with a few rules. I set my status to ‘away’ for the first and last 15 minutes of each day so I can plan and review the day, and I always switch off at lunchtime. I feel like ‘switching off’ for a short period during a stressful day does way more for my mental health than any morning ritual I’ve tried to follow.

What makes you excited to wake up and go to work each morning?

Usually it’s a topic I can’t stop thinking about before going to bed. There’s always something cooking — metaphorically or literally. I either want to start work on solving a problem, finish a three-month-long project, or there's something tasty planned for lunch at Vinted Noise — that’s the name of our office canteen here in Vilnius.

Your career path at Vinted is distinct as you’ve changed departments within the company. What was your first position here?

I started in Community Support as a Queue Manager (this position is now called Resource Planning Analyst). Part of this was planning and organising employees and their allocation to make sure Vinted members received replies and resolutions to their enquiries in good time. This was a new position, so there was a lot of space to create things from scratch. My closest colleagues are still working at Vinted and had their opportunities to grow within the Community Support department. We still meet for an occasional coffee to talk about the good old days.

Why did you decide to make a career jump? What was the main motivation to switch to finance?

I have a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Over the years, I’ve explored several different careers, but I always wanted to eventually go back to accounting. I wasn’t actively searching for a new opportunity, but I often browsed open job positions at Vinted to recommend to my friends. One day, I stumbled upon something for myself - an ideal position as an Accounting Associate in a newly created Accounting team. I thought to myself: “Why not?” and went for it.

What was easy and what was hard about the switch? Tell us about the process.

The decision to apply was easy – as I was still happy in my current position, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I found the Hiring Manager and requested a pre-interview. The rest of the process was quite smooth because I already knew what the hiring process at Vinted was like.

The hardest part was deciding to take the job. I was scared to step outside my comfort zone. It was a major change to go from working in one field on Friday to another one on Monday. 

But it was great to be able to just dive into new responsibilities without having to learn everything about a company, as you usually do with a new job. It’s much harder to change both your career path and your employer at the same time. I’d already been working for Vinted for a year, which made it easier to adapt to and focus on the daily tasks. This came in handy multiple times. 

What are the main lessons that you learned during this transition?

Good things happen when you leave your comfort zone. Change is never easy, but if you believe that change is needed and will bring value to your future, then go for it. 

How do you use your learning budget? Has it helped you in your career-changing journey?

It’s helped me on many levels. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about more minor, niche topics, as well as developing my knowledge on broader subjects when the inspiration hits. I have way more accounting books in my library compared to a few years ago. They were very useful when I was refreshing my knowledge for a new position. The learning budget has also helped me to see what’s circling in the finance and leadership fields in other companies and countries.

You’ve also grown in the Finance domain, and recently took the role of Team Lead. What was your motivation? Did your lead or team help out in any way?

Quite similar to joining the Finance domain, the opportunity presented itself. All I needed was the courage to change. Both my lead and my team were the key elements of why I decided to tackle this role. When the position was announced, I received several messages encouraging me to apply. When your team supports you, it really gives you a huge boost of motivation.

I became a team lead for a few of my teammates, so we already knew each other and how we operate. As I grew in this team from Associate to Accountant, I already knew how processes work and where improvement was needed. In a way it’s also kind of comforting that even after these changes I still work with the same direct manager, who I keep learning new skills from and can call my mentor. So, all things considered, the decision to apply was easy. Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning new things was the challenging part. 

What’s exciting about working in the Finance domain at Vinted? Give us more details on what exactly you and your team do.

The work is constantly evolving, which is both the best and the most challenging part of the job. With the company steadily growing, there’s always a new project to join. My team and I are responsible for processing external vendor invoices. Our central focus is assuring that all invoices are processed accurately and timely. We take care of all Vinted subsidiaries' invoices, oversee communication with external vendors and internal departments, and assist with the implementation of new tools in our software. 

It might sound reparative from the outside, yet once Vinted Go launched, we needed to collaborate closely with other teams to align the best way of accounting new types of expenses. With more complex budgeting requirements, we needed to implement new procedures and controls. As employee numbers keep rising, we also needed to re-evaluate our KPIs and pinpoint specific ways of improving the bill processing flow. Of course, it can be stressful when no two weeks are the same, but with that comes plenty of opportunities to learn, contribute, co-create and grow both professionally and personally.

Can you share any recent accomplishments of your team or the Finance domain that you’re proud of?

I can’t pick out just one thing, but I’m very proud of how our team is continuously improving. To start with, we’ve made general adjustments to the team’s structure, better distributed responsibilities, and created a backup plan. We’re continually adding more automatic solutions to the invoice booking process and refining payment scheduling terms. Finally, we’re analysing and re-evaluating our KPIs, and distinguishing the most value-adding metrics. A lot of this looked different just a year ago, and I can’t wait to see how we grow in the future.  

By the way, do you use the Vinted app? If so, what’s your way of using it?

Of course! I’m a frequent buyer and a rare seller. Our monthly Vinted shopping budget was a great incentive to start using it regularly. It has now become my go-to app when searching for all the items I need – from clothes to small appliances, you name it – I’ve bought it all. 

One fun fact about you.

I was told that I take photos like an accountant. During my photography studies, my teacher noticed that my pictures are very balanced and said I should try exploring different angles more. And no, he didn’t know that I was an accountant. Yet, once in a while, when I get stuck trying to solve an issue in a balanced way, I try to look at it from a different angle as well.

Pick one piece of media to recommend. Why do you think it deserves someone’s attention and what role does it play in your life?

A podcast called The Ground Up Show by Matt D'Avella. It’s really inspiring. Each episode features different guests and covers different topics - from mental wellbeing, to creative storytelling, habit building and entrepreneurship.