What do you do?
As part of the brilliant Not for Profit team at Cooper Parry, I specialize in the education and charity sector. I work with Academies, independent schools, local, regional and national charities and other not-for-profit organisations, helping them with their audit, assurance, financial reporting, governance and strategic growth and development needs.
My goal is always to ensure we provide a straight-forward and hassle-free service to clients, but with a focus on providing solutions for them so they can maximise the impact they have in their communities, whilst also maintaining our integrity and professionalism. Sounds straightforward!
Why do you do it?
I’ve worked in a number of different sectors over the years, from financial services through to manufacturing, healthcare and technology, but it was having the opportunity to work with FE colleges when they first incorporated back in the early 1990’s that really sparked my interest in the not for profit sector, and specifically the charity and education sector. Since then, I’ve worked with a diverse range of organisations in the not for profit sector, both in the UK and Australia, but have really specialised in the education sector over the last 10 years.
So, why the education sector? Well, as a parent, I’ve always had children and young people at the heart of what I do, so it just seemed natural to carry that interest on in my professional life. I really find the education and charity sectors fascinating as no two organisations are alike – they all have their own different structure, culture, vision, challenges and opportunities and that’s where we come in – helping them with these challenges and opportunities.
What kind of projects have you been involved in?
Aside from the mainstream audit and assurance work with clients, I’ve recently helped an existing charity de-merge its two very distinct activities into two newly registered CIO’s including assisting them with the CIO set-up and registration process, as well as helping another charity incorporate itself as a CIO and transfer the existing charitable activities over to the new CIO.
On the education side, I’ve been involved in helping clients with due diligence reviews on other Academies joining their Trust, looking at and advising on a Trust’s financial sustainability models, advising on Trust governance structures, providing training for Trustees and Academy Accounting Officers on their financial roles and responsibilities, helping a MAT in looking at implementing a GAG pooling policy and also working with Trust’s to put in place an effective risk based program of internal scrutiny and assurance work.
I’ve also, with one of my team, presented at a series of ISBL regional conferences across the country, where we have been looking at how to educate Trustees and Business Leaders on their financial responsibilities. This has been really fascinating and great to see some of the ways different Academies have approved this across the country.
I am also a Trustee of a secondary Academy Trust and a museum and gallery charity, where I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in some really interesting projects from the ‘other side of the pitch – a gallery refurbishment project, an artificial grass sports pitch project and a project for the building of a new performing arts centre! I also found these Trustee roles really helpful in understand the pressures and challenges facing Trustees which I can draw on when providing advice and training to Trustees on their roles and responsibilities.
What’s on top of your bucket list?
I don’t really have bucket list, as I tend to just go with the flow of things and see what interests me most at the time – I guess it’s a bit of that slightly laid-back Australian upbringing coming out in me!
That said, I do really enjoy travelling and seeing new places with family on holidays and I would love to do two things one day – to get on MasterChef, although I need to work on my puddings, and be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch a boxing day Ashes test between the Aussies and England!
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