FD in Five Minutes: Sonia Rees

Third Sector speaks to the finance director at Acorns Children's Hospice

Sonia Rees
Sonia Rees

Why did you choose finance as a career? I decided to have a gap year after doing my A levels so I'd have some money behind me before taking up my university place. I got a good job as a trainee accounting technician with Gloucestershire County Council. I planned to stay for only a year but loved it so much I completed the full professional qualification six-and-a-half years later.

What made you work in the charity sector? After about 25 years in local and national government bodies, including 15 years working at director level, I got the chance to work at Acorns and use my skills to help an organisation that really was making a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I’ve been here six years now, and hardly a day goes by without me hearing a heart-warming story that connects me back to our charitable objectives. For me it’s about what you can achieve with money, not just keeping financial score.

What do you do outside work? Looking after my lovely family, roads trips in the USA, walking my spaniel, running 10k three times a week, spending time with friends and playing social bridge.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? The three chief executives I’ve worked with, who have all given me the space and support I needed to achieve my full potential.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Find some practical ways of supporting charities with the legislative and regulatory burden. The sector is subject to more regulation than local and national government, something I didn’t think was possible.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Yes, there are opportunities as well as challenges for us all. We need to keep clear heads, think long term and learn to adapt and change in the best interests of our beneficiaries.

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