FD in Five Minutes: Simon Hawkins

Third Sector speaks to the finance director at Bowel Cancer UK

Simon Hawkins
Simon Hawkins

Why did you choose finance as a career? I had always been good with numbers, so my dad suggested I send my CV to some local accountancy firms. I was fortunate enough to be offered an opportunity at an incredibly supportive practice and I soon realised that I loved the job. Thirty years later, I have very fond memories of that whole experience.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? I was heavily involved in the process that saw the merger of Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK at the start of 2018. My role included due diligence looking at the respective financial strengths of both charities, and working with key people to determine initial budgets and assess the viability of the overall transaction. It has proven to be an amazing learning experience and, a year on, we are now in a great place to continue to move the new charity forward.

What do you do outside work? I am a keen follower of most of what goes on in the sporting world, with a particular interest in football (I support Bristol City), cricket and athletics. I endeavour to stay fit and run regularly. I have an allotment, a dog, three children and host radio programmes on a local station, having presented my own weekend breakfast show in the early noughties.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? My dad was always good counsel over any career decisions that I’ve made. My first boss helped to give me good grounding as I started my career. And my current manager Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, has been a great influence too, in terms of always putting the people we support at the heart of every move we make as a charity.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Really listen to what the charity sector has to say. It employs so many amazing people who make positive change every day for their beneficiaries here and overseas, and sometimes the way government gets involved only makes things more difficult for charities to operate and do what they are here for.

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