FD in Five Minutes: Maria Holmes

Third Sector speaks to the finance and resources director at Nottinghamshire Hospice

Maria Holmes
Maria Holmes

Why did you choose finance as a career? It chose me rather than me choosing it. I began my career as a bio-chemist until British Sugar made me redundant. I then decided to take a different path. When I was made redundant I signed up for accounts, finance and book-keeping at night school. Although I had no experience, I was lucky to get a part-time job doing book-keeping at Leonard Cheshire, where I learnt finance the old-fashioned way. I stayed there for 11 years.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? While working for the University of Nottingham Students' Union, I introduced a whole new accounting system as well as an app so the students could view their society accounts on their phones and devices. I managed to complete my professional accounting qualification doing evening and weekend study while working full-time and being mum to two young children.

What do you do outside work? I love skiing, having done it since the age of six, and each year buy a seasonal lift pass. My family has a property in Alpbach in the Alps and I go there several times a year. We have big family gatherings there at Christmas and New Year – there were 15 of us this year. I’m also a keen scuba diver and have dived in all sorts of waters including UK coastal water, Stony Cove near Leicester and the much warmer waters of the Caribbean and the Red Sea.

If you were charities minister for the day, what would you do? Support charities to embrace digitalisation. It can be difficult to find the resources to do this. Many charities do not have the required expertise, so they lack confidence when embarking on the journey. Recruiting volunteers is also becoming increasingly difficult; it would be great if there was an incentive scheme that supported business to offer their resources, particularly professional skills.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? I’m optimistic for the future of local charities. Large national charities have had a bad press recently, but people still have trust in local charities, especially if they can see the difference their support makes. People would rather give if they knew where their money was going. Many of our legacies and donations come from people who have a personal connection with the hospice.

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