Acorns Director of Finance Sonia Rees is Focus of Third Sector Feature

‘FD in Five Minutes’ is a Q&A which shines the spotlight on finance directors in the charity sector, looking at their life, job and charity work. Read the article below.

FD in Five Minutes: Sonia Rees

Why did you choose finance as a career? 

I decided to have a gap year after doing my A levels so I’d got some money behind me before taking up my university place. I got a good job as a trainee accounting technician role with Gloucestershire County Council. I only planned to stay a year but loved it so much I completed full professional qualification six and a half years later.

What made you work in the charity sector?

After around 25 years in local and national government bodies including 15 years working at Director level, I got the chance to work at Acorns and use my skills to help an organisation that really was making a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. I’ve been here six years now, and hardly a day goes by without me hearing a heart-warming story that connects me back to our charitable objectives.  For me it’s about what you can achieve with money, not just keeping financial score.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

Delivering transformational change in finance teams in local and national government and in my current role to add value as really effective business partners to the rest of the organisation.

What do you do outside work?

Looking after my lovely family, roads trips in the USA, walking my spaniel, running 10k three times a week, spending time with friends and playing social bridge.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far?

The three Chief Executives I’ve worked with that have given me the space and support needed to achieve my full potential.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do?

Find some practical ways of supporting charities with the legislative and regulatory burden. The sector is subject to more regulation than local and national government – something I didn’t think was possible!

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector?

Yes, there are opportunities as well as challenges for us all. We need to keep clear heads and think long-term and learn to adapt and change in the best interests of our beneficiaries.