The View From….
Imad Alqasim, accounting manager for Whizz-Kidz charity
An average day for me means ensuring our accounting information is up-to-date and accurate. I provide daily support to all our operations, particularly our fundraising department and senior management team.
My responsibilities include monthly management accounts, annual accounts, budget and forecast figures, analysing variances and ensuring sound control over the charity’s financial procedures.
I joined the charity in July 2012, after studying for my ACCA qualification and becoming a full member – which helped me to understand the importance of corporate social responsibility and the way that different companies should contribute towards a better society. This gave me the motivation to join the third sector where the motivation is different than for financial profit.
Our charity, Whizz-Kidz, are experts in meeting the individual needs of young disabled people by providing the right mobility equipment, skills training and opportunities to meet and have fun. Our charity’s core belief is that every young disabled person has the right to a fun and active childhood and the chance to develop their full potential.
Whizz-Kidz is currently expanding. A fantastic £5.3m grant from The Big Lottery was awarded at the end of last year. It means we will deliver 10,000 new opportunities to disabled young people in England, improving their lives through clubs, camps, wheelchair skills training and work placements. This is on top of our business-as-usual work, including in the devolved regions.
For me this means a greater number of budgets, expenditure lines and the implementation of new systems to cope with the increased demand on finance and accounts. We need to be fit for purpose and up for the challenge that comes with this substantial growth.
I enjoy being part of a charity, knowing that my work directly contributes to transforming disabled children’s lives – giving them the freedom to choose their own path. This motivates me to do the best job I can. I use my accounting expertise to achieve efficiency, effectiveness and value for money – the latter is particularly vital in a charity.
We can always improve. I am currently focused on producing accounting and financial information that matches the pace and speed at which the charity is developing and growing.
I have to apply my knowledge in a resourceful way so as to maximise outcomes and help to achieve Whizz-Kidz’s goals. My advice to young accountants is to keep your own personal development up-to-date, in order to compete in this busy and crowded market.
My biggest professional achievement to date was in the 2008/9 year when I was a financial director in the industrial sector. Following the financial crises, my team and I managed to minimise losses to the company. Within a few months, we turned things around and achieved a strong financial position. But it was a testing time.
Outside of work my activities include running, which I enjoy. I completed the Virgin London Marathon for Whizz-Kidz in 2014. I also like visiting galleries, museums and generally taking in international culture. I am an online mentor for an ACCA student and a member of ACCA’s Public Sector Network Panel.