Charity Finance Group Profile

Member of the Month: Bill Lovett

bill lovett

At the time of writing, Bill Lovett was Financial Controller at the Prison Fellowship. He now works for Haiti Hospital Appeal.

What inspired you to work in the charity sector?
My mother was a political refugee and got Red Cross help. That, together with Christian faith draws me to be (a tiny) part of the solution, not part of the problem.

What CFG publication would you recommend to other members, and why?
Finance Focus is the obvious answer. And the CFG LinkedIn discussion forums are worth following for something relevant to you.

What does a typical day look like for you?
There is always the daily bread’n’butter stuff of processing invoices, expenses, and claims. There are monthly cycles too (payroll, claims, and monthly management reports). Then there are quarterly Board reports, and broader seasons too: for forecasts, budget prep, audit prep, HR reports, appraisals, service contract renewals/replacements, Spring/Christmas appeals, etc. Plus the unexpected often arises. It’s like interlocking wheels that seem to generate utter chaos.

What do you value most about your membership of CFG?
As the CIA says, it is about information, and knowing. Not knowing can cost you.

What are the most important skills needed for your role?
Let’s not underestimate simple technical competence. And if you don’t know, you’ve got to be game to learn and become competent. But you can’t forget the people skills, for ‘sensitive and the tender hearted’ on one hand, and ‘driven and vision filled’ on the other.

If you could share one piece of advice with aspiring charity finance professionals/other members, what would it be?
You’ll never be wealthy. But you’ll often have a great reason to get out of bed. And every day will be different.

What will the charity sector look like in 10 years time?
Supporters are changing. It is generational, but I wonder if many of us are really keeping up with this. Firstly who are ‘supporters’? Is it members, volunteers, regular donors, e-newsletter/blog/twitter followers? The shift from ‘membership’ towards ‘following’ brings with it a different sense of personal benefit, less to do with self image and now more towards personal experiences.

What is the one piece of technology you couldn’t do without in your job?
Two To-Do lists and an electronic calendar: one for today, the second for “The Long List”, and the calendar for the cyclical stuff.

What song best sums up your job?
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might get what you need” –the Rolling Stones. I sing along to this when setting budgets.

If you weren’t working in finance, what would be your ideal job?
Preacher/writer. Or aid worker in parts of the world I used to work in.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
As in ‘Pale Rider’, I’ll have Clint Eastwood’s gun, I’ve got my own Bible. Then I’ll waste some bad guys. Not very Christian I’m afraid, bit it’s not a serious question, is it?

Abandoned on a desert island, what is the one luxury you would like to have?
My wife for company.

Advertisements