FD In Five Minutes: Steve Webster of Fight for Sight

The director of finance at the sight loss charity says he enjoys working for a small organisation where everyone is prepared to 'roll their sleeves up' and help each other out

Steve Webster
Steve Webster

You started this job recently – how do you hit the ground running in a new role? Focus on the main deliverables, so that you can ensure the users of the finance department remain happy. To do this you have to understand quickly how the systems work, in particular how data can be extracted into meaningful reports. An obvious area to understand is the chart of accounts, because from that stems most things.

What is the main learning curve when you move to a new charity? Is it the cause area or the internal mechanisms? Both are important. You need to believe in what the charity does because this is what motivates you; but the internal mechanisms are also crucial to supporting the cause.

What have you found to be the main differences between working for smaller and larger charities? The larger a charity, the more impersonal it becomes – lots of people just don't know each other. In a small entity – with charities in particular – I have found that everyone knows each other and most people are prepared to roll up their sleeves to help you if you have a busy period or a crisis. It's a great feeling and makes work enjoyable.

What would you do if you were PM for a day? I would want to highlight the important role that charities play in this country, with an emphasis on long-term health solutions.

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