FD in Five Minutes: Ashley Bailey

Third Sector speaks to the director of finance at Brain Tumour Research

Ashley Bailey
Ashley Bailey

What made you work in the charity sector? I was hoping to achieve a better work/life balance because I had previously worked in responsible senior management roles in the private sector. However, I have learnt that you bring your work ethic with you and I am working as long and as hard as ever.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? No role I have had in the private sector has had the same positive impact on people’s lives as the progress Brain Tumour Research is making in funding research to find a cure for brain tumours and raising awareness of this dreadful disease, which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Historically, just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this area. From a personal perspective, as the UK managing director of a large business services organisation, I led a service performance and financial turnaround of a failing business, ultimately regaining previously lost contracts with prestigious and discerning clients. Indeed, I believe we changed the culture of an industry that now delivers excellent service and puts the client first.

What do you do outside work? Sport and staying fit is a big part of my life. I go to the gym regularly and I also enjoy gardening.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? I would instigate a review of the crowdfunding phenomenon, the risk of fraudulent fundraising and the consequential impact on legitimate charitable fundraising. I also find it unsettling that some of the larger charitable trusts have growing reserves at a time when good causes within the sector are crying out for financial support, so maybe a rule that requires them to grant at least 100 per cent of their income over a running three-year period and stop the building of reserves.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Yes. I believe the charity sector fulfils a huge need in society and can’t see that changing in my lifetime. I do think there is an opportunity for the sector to become more efficient and professional, after which it would gain more respect among the wider public.

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