Mark trained with Sayer Vincent gaining his ACA qualification in 2006 and progressed to become an audit manager. During his time at Sayer Vincent, Mark managed a diverse portfolio of over 40 clients across a number of sectors including Health and Social Care, International Development, Membership and Grant Making as well as obtaining a Diploma in Charity Accounting.
Since leaving Sayer Vincent in 2013, Mark has continued working in the sector and is currently Associate Director of Finance at CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families with an annual turnover of over of approximately £30m.
Let’s hear from Mark about his time at SV and what he’s been up to since leaving the firm:
Training and working at Sayer Vincent
The people are what made my time at SV so memorable, working with like-minded people who all share a common passion for the sector and really care about the work that they do and want to make a real difference to some wonderful charities. Even though the work was challenging, the culture was one of fun, compassion and togetherness throughout the firm, from the partners all the way to the trainees. I’ve made friends for life – a lot of my closest friends now are actually people I trained with at SV!
SV is a firm that really cares about your development. Of course there is support on the technical aspects of gaining the ACA qualification, but as you get higher up in the organisation there is also a real commitment to developing leadership traits and other softer skills, which provided me with a solid foundation to progress my career in the sector. Judith was a great influence on me as my principal and really cared about my development, for which I am very grateful.
Making a difference and working in the sector
I see my job as more than just a finance role. The Finance team at CLIC Sargent play a vital role in ensuring the charity is able to help children and young people that have cancer. We do this by being the best we can be and enabling others to achieve and deliver their strategic priorities – whether that be through providing financial information and analysis to ensure the right decisions can be made for the beneficiaries or through monitoring the financial health of the charity, ensuring we have enough money in the bank to deliver our core objectives.
We also play a key role in developing a robust control environment; clearly communicating financial responsibilities to staff across the charity and working with them to build their understanding of their accountabilities and improving their financial literacy.
“A positive frame of mind always helps! Develop resilience and an attitude to succeed – you’ll need more of this the higher up the ladder you get.”
Key tips for becoming a charity finance leader
- Have the thirst to learn and develop (for yourself and your team). Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and always seek feedback with the aim of doing things better in the future. Try not to take negative feedback personally and grab every opportunity you have to improve and develop.
- Build a good internal and external network of peers. It’s always great to be able to tap into other people’s experience and knowledge.
- Listen to others, share and collaborate. We are better when we work together. Be prepared to challenge and be challenged and always have the beneficiaries in mind when making big decisions.
Since leaving SV
I’m happy to have managed to keep in touch with colleagues I trained with – some who have left SV and some who have stayed on and progressed within the firm. I’m always happy to see the team for drinks at the pub when I can make it. SV was instrumental in preparing me to become a charity finance professional, and even though I have left, the firm has still played an important role in my development. I attend some of the regular training seminars to keep up to date technically and I’ve also recently completed the Inspiring Financial Leadership course run by Cass Business School, in partnership with CFG and Sayer Vincent, which has been amazing for my development.