FD in Five Minutes: Graham Finegold

Third Sector speaks to the director of finance and resources for Locality

Graham Finegold
Graham Finegold

Why did you choose your current career?

I didn’t choose a career in finance as such. I chose a career working in the voluntary sector. I started as a youth worker, eventually becoming chief executive of a small charity. After this I worked freelance and discovered a skill with numbers and being able to translate financial concepts into plans and realities for delivery. The lack of formal training has given me the ability to see things in terms of delivery rather than just the numbers. The step to director of finance and resources seemed a natural progression.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

I don’t really like to use the word “proud” because so much of my work has been team-focused and relies on the efforts of others. But things I’m really pleased with? Being able to provide advice in finance and HR for our members and really helping them to unpick complex and tricky problems. Also, whenever I see our members at Locality doing extraordinary things for their communities I know we must all be doing something right.

What’s your biggest challenge at work?

Trying to have a single finance system that accurately reflects the work of lots of very different projects.

What do you do outside work?

Cook, but a lot of my baking ends up at work. I’m resisting the challenge of Bake Off, for now.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far?

I remember going on a management course very early in my career and one trainer talking about using political awareness but always balancing this with personal integrity. That was very useful.

If you had to work in another industry, what would it be?

Maybe the catering trade, but I think if I was working in it I would lose the pleasure I find in it.  

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To provide an instant personal awareness and understanding in our politicians and decision-makers about the lives of people who really struggle in our communities.

Which three people would be at your fantasy dinner party?

Well, obviously I’d be doing the cooking, but probably Claire Tomalin for intellect and historical perspective, Mark Steel for spot on laughs and political awareness and Nina Simone for the music, as well as intellect, historical perspective and political awareness.

What three things would you take with you if you were exiled to a desert island?

My music player with a solar battery charger, a decent cooking pan and plenty of matches: I can’t start a fire without them; I was never in the Scouts.

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