FD in Five Minutes: Michael Bell

Third Sector speaks to the national treasurer for the Ileostomy & Internal Pouch Association

Michael Bell
Michael Bell

Why did you choose finance as a career? I started working in the City of London in the 1980s, attracted by the excitement there was at that time with the deregulation of the financial markets. It just seemed like the obvious choice because I had a number of friends working in the City in the financial sector.

What made you work in the charity sector? The City culture might be exciting in your twenties and thirties, but as I grew older I grew tired of it and became uncomfortable with its sometimes arguably questionable ethics. The charity sector offered the possibility of doing something genuinely worthwhile and adding real value to people’s lives instead of just financial value.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? My proudest moment is successfully guiding the charity I work for, the Ileostomy & Internal Pouch Association, through a complex legal and organisational restructure. The association has been in existence for more than 60 years, and change was essential in order to ensure we’re around for the next 60 years. We’re now at the end of that restructure process and looking ahead positively to a bright future continuing to help those who have, or are about to have, ileostomies and internal pouches. 

What do you do outside work? I’m an active dad to my two children, Lexie ( 17) and Kieran ( 10), and with the very little downtime I have left after that I like to spend time pottering in my garden. The peace and quiet is better than meditation and the manual effort far preferable to the gym.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? The finance director of the fund manager I worked for in the late 1980s had the biggest influence on my career. He suggested that I study for the ACCA qualification. Without that push I might never have qualified and given myself the ability to move outside the financial services sector. 

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? I would change the tax system to abolish irrecoverable VAT for all charities.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? I’m cautiously optimistic, although the accountant in me counsels prudence.

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