FD in Five Minutes: Tony Spinks

Third Sector speaks to the finance and personnel manager at Epilepsy Action

Tony Spinks
Tony Spinks

Why did you choose finance as a career? I like to know what is going on, so being involved in finance allows me to ask lots of questions. I was always fairly good with numbers, but hadn't really thought about a career in finance. But as I started working my way up through the various finance roles I realised what a great oversight it gave on how businesses operate.

What made you work in the charity sector? I believe in the charitable sector and the enormous power for good it has. My first charitable role was for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, the charitable arm of the rugby league team Leeds Rhinos, and it gave me enormous pride to be part of something so life-changing. It gives me fantastic job satisfaction.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? One of my first tasks when I joined Epilepsy Action was to manage a VAT compliance check by HM Revenue & Customs. This involved reworking four years’ of VAT returns and recalculating them using the partial exemption method. By doing this work I managed to recoup a significant amount of money for the charity. I also increased the VAT recovery rate by more than 25 per cent, leading to more of the charity’s future money being spent on our beneficiaries.

What do you do outside work? I am a husband and father to two children aged five and eight, which keeps me pretty busy. Alongside that I am a keen runner. I completed the Great North Run in 2018, which was my first half marathon.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? I am, though I think charities need to start having a louder voice in society again. They need to take the fight to the establishment and not just become part of it.

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