Helen Elliott Partner

What has been your career path so far?

My training and early career as a chartered accountant was in general practice. This involved the usual audit and accounting, but also providing tax and business advice, which I still do today. I also got involved advising clients on buying and selling companies and loved that. I wasn’t sure if I would get the same buzz from working with charities – but I really do and even more so!

What do you enjoy about the charity sector?

I love working with different charities. I might be contacted about a VAT problem, but the real problem can be much wider, and may involve other taxes or business management issues. I enjoy working with the charity to find the best solution and I make sure I explain complex issues in a straightforward way, steering away from any jargon!

What are your key skills?

Charities are very business-like and need to cope with all the pressures and requirements of any business, but also have to contend with charity regulations, reporting and tax rules. So, the more straightforward I can make this for them, the better. It is also vital to consider all the differing requirements together – business needs, financial issues, VAT, other taxes, and the Charity Commission – to reach the right outcome.

What makes you proud?

Sayer Vincent is dedicated to supporting charities and sharing our knowledge and learning and that makes me proud. We offer many free resources including our Made Simple Guides which cover 21 topics on charity finance and tax issues. The feedback we get from these guides is tremendous!

Tell us something people may not know

At the first trustee meeting I went to as a trustee (over 20 years ago) the chair informed us that they had just approved the annual report and accounts for us. These had not been circulated to any of us. Well that never happened again….

What do you get up to outside of work?

I love to keep fit and walk as much as possible – at least twice a day to keep the dog happy 😊