FD in Five Minutes: Tim Lowth of Blind Children UK

The director of finance, planning and performance at the charity says an ability to communicate well is the secret to success as an accountant

Tim Lowth
Tim Lowth

Blind Children UK is a bit of a mouthful - in the office do you refer to yourselves as BCUK? We never use the acronym because it renders the name meaningless: it's always Blind Children UK. Anyone in the organisation who uses the acronym is fined £10 each time.

How's your Braille? I'm sighted and don't read Braille. But it's impressive to watch - a real skill. I know that my surname, while having five letters, is correctly spelled with only three in Braille, as the combinations "ow" and "th" have their own symbols.

Tell us a joke that finance people will appreciate. I'll give you two. Optimists say a glass is half full, pessimists that it is half empty. Accountants say it should be replaced with a half-size, lower-cost glass. And a second: there are three sorts of accountant - those who can count and those who can't.

How much of what you learned while training to be an accountant is useless in the real word? Quite a bit! What you learn is technical in nature, but the secret to success in the job is an ability to communicate financial matters to a broad spectrum of people, from business-savvy trustees to service delivery staff.

If you could swap jobs with anyone (literally anyone) for a day, who would it be? Tricky one: how about Ian Anderson, lead singer of the band Jethro Tull.

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