FD in Five Minutes: Paul Viles

Third Sector speaks to the director of finance at the community environment charity Groundwork

Paul Viles
Paul Viles

Why did you choose finance as a career? I wanted a career that was respected, secure and would give me a good standard of living. Two of my uncles were accountants and seemed to be doing well, so that had some influence. I was also interested in economics at school, so it was a good fit.

What made you work in the charity sector? During my training, one of our largest audits was a charity, and I was lucky enough to work on it. I liked what they did and the people in the charity, so I applied for a job as finance lead for its overseas operations once I had completed my training. I hated auditing. Audits are pretty much backward-looking and I wanted to move into a role where I could contribute to the future success of an organisation.

What do you do outside work? I love to travel and relax by reading, swimming and doing a small amount of voluntary work for another charity. For my sins, I follow West Bromwich Albion FC.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Take charities out of the scope of VAT, because it would save them money and time.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Yes. I see charities as being even more needed and relevant going forward. Public services will continue to be stretched and the third sector is well placed to play a key role, although competition from the private sector makes this difficult.

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