FD in Five Minutes: Paul Butler

Third Sector speaks to the director of finance and operations at Auditory Verbal UK, the charity for children with hearing loss

Paul Butler

Why did you choose your current career?

After taking a lot out, I left stockbroking in 2003 to work in charities and have a go at putting something back in.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

I organised and fundraised for a community buyout of a pub in King’s Cross, London, called the King Charles I. Five years on it is still open with stable finances, is popular and is one of only two pubs in London that pays its staff more than the London Living Wage.

What’s your biggest challenge at work?

Juggling the many conflicting priorities covering systems development, IT, finance, HR and facilities with very limited resources.

What do you do outside work?

I really enjoy fell walking, getting out and exploring the UK on foot. I also enjoy anything live, such as music, theatre and good comedy. I do avoid musicals though.

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

Ernest Shackelton for his leadership qualities. In 1915, he led his crew out of Antartica after his ship, Endurance, was crushed by ice. He managed to lead his crew over the Ross Ice Shelf and he sailed from there across the South Atlantic to South Georgia in a lifeboat, bringing back a ship to rescue them all. He led from the front and tackled all types of adversity, keeping focused on his big objective while maintaining good morale with his crew in appalling, life-threatening circumstances.

Which three people would be at your fantasy dinner party?

They are all dead now but I would invite Tommy Cooper, Lennard Rossiter and Ronnie Barker. These people really make me laugh.

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

A radio for entertainment, a needle and cotton for essential repairs and a beer-making kit for morale.

If you were Prime Minister for the day, what would you do?

Reinstate the railway lines cut by Beeching during the 1960s. This would mean we could go almost anywhere by train, transform the lives of those in isolated communities and reduce the need to use cars.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector?

Yes I am. The sector often forms a glue between the private and public sectors and will work in areas that are either not profitable or outside the scope of national or local government policy. I believe the sector is the conscience of the nation and that those working within it should be careful not to weaken this position.

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