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Matt Davidson

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Matt Davidson

Principal Consultant - Finance

I’m originally from the West Country and studied Psychology at Exeter University. After graduating, I moved to London and went straight into recruitment. I’ve over 15 year’s Public Sector recruitment experience having worked for Venn Group, FSS and Hudson.

I work in the Pro-Finance Public Sector Division where I recruit interim, contract and permanent Accountancy, Finance, Procurement, Change Management and Project staff. My clients include Charities, Housing Associations, Education, Central and Local Government, Membership and Professional Bodies. I recruit for all levels from Finance Director to Accounts Assistants.

I love traveling and try to scuba dive as much as possible, having obtained several PADI qualifications. I’ve loved my trips to Egypt, Maldives, St Lucia, Dubai, India and Peru, Canada and the USA. My bucket list consists of parachuting, bungee jumping, visiting Australia, to live on an eco-reserve on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific, flying a plane, diving with great white sharks and the list goes on!

matt's latest roles

  • FP&A Analyst

    £48000.00 - £55000.00 per annum

    FP&A Analyst: £48,000 - £55,000 (18 months FTC) London For a large University, we are recruiting an FP&A Analyst for 18 months (FTC) although this may move to a permanent position. They FP&A Analyst will rep...

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  • Senior Management Accountant

    £50000.00 - £54353.00 per annum

    Senior Management Accountant: £50,000 - £54,350 (18 months FTC) London | Home For an education and training organisation, we are recruiting a Senior Management Accountant for at least 18 months to cover a se...

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  • Cost Manager

    £60000.00 - £68000.00 per annum

    Cost Manager, package up to £68,000: London For one of the most demanding and exciting transport projects in Europe, we are recruiting a Cost Manager to support the management of budgets, actual costs, forec...

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  • Cost Manager

    £58000.00 - £62000.00 per annum

    Cost Manager, package up to £62,000: Birmingham For one of the most demanding and exciting transport projects in Europe, we are recruiting a Cost Manager to support the management of budgets, actual costs, f...

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  • Senior Estimating Manager

    £80000.00 - £84000.00 per annum

    Senior Estimating Manager, package up to £85,000: Birmingham For one of the most demanding and exciting transport projects in Europe, we are recruiting a Senior Estimating Manager to lead baseline estimate m...

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  • Senior Assurance Analyst - Cost Model...

    £450.00 - £500 per day

    Senior Assurance Analyst - Cost Modelling: £450 - £500 per day (Umbrella) 3 months + For a nationwide Transport company, we are recruiting a Senior Assurance Analyst for the Economic and Commercial Costing T...

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  • Area Housing Manager - PFI Contract

    Up to £50000.00 per annum

    Area Housing Manager, £50,000 + Bonus and Benefits, East London For a large Housing Group, we are looking for an Area Housing Manager to lead, motivate and develop a team of 8 overseeing a demanding PFI Cont...

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  • Planning and Statistics Analyst

    £39000.00 - £43950.00 per annum

    Planning and Statistics Analyst: £39,000 - £43,950 London | Home For a large, central London University, we are recruiting a Planning and Statistics Analyst for its Strategic Planning Directorate. Reporting ...

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  • Senior Management Accountant

    £50000 - £54350.00 per annum

    Senior Management Accountant: £50,000 - £54,350 (18 months FTC) London | Home For a large, central London University, we are recruiting a Senior Management Accountant for at least 18 months to cover a second...

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  • Procurement Officer

    £41466 - £44343 per annum + Pension, Season Ticket Loan

    Procurement Officer, London £41,466 - £44,373 + Benefits Tower Hamlets Homes is an award-winning ALMO delivering high-quality housing services for residents living in 21,000 homes in East London. Delivering ...

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  • Service Charge Officer

    £15.00 - £20 per hour

    Service Charge Officer: £15 - £20 per hour (PAYE / Umbrella) 6-months temporary London | Home For a public sector housing provider in central London, we are recruiting a temporary Service Charge Officer for ...

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What people say about Matt

I found your service highly professional and efficient, yet you made me feel like I was your most important candidate. You kept me promptly informed about any changes, additional information, tips...

Matt is a delight to work with, he gives you a real sense that he is invested in you, is working for you and is out for your best interests. Matt is thorough in explaining the roles, his emails are very detailed and his provides excellent pre-interview questions and topics to review...

It wasn't an easy role to fill. Matt ensured that he only sent over relevant candidates in addition to managing both the charity's and the candidates' expectation well. We hired the most relevant candidate from Matt and as such, am happy to recommend his recruitment and talent resourcing skills!

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Companies Matt has worked with

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Marie Stopes International is a global non-governmental organisation (NGO) providing contraception and safe abortion services in 38 countries around the world.

The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. They are on the ground in 6 continents and have operations in over 110 countries with a turnover of almost £1nn.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international conservation charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, whose vision is a world where wildlife thrives.

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matt's articles

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How Will the New IR35 Rules Affect the Charity and Not-for-Profit Sector?

Posted by Matt Davidson

The government has confirmed changes to off-payroll working (IR35) rules, which will come into play from 6th April 2020. The new tax legislation will affect the private sector, including numerous charities and not-for-profit organisations, and could result in contractors paying 25% more in tax. The last changes to IR35 were introduced in April 2017 and were rolled out to the public sector to combat avoidance of employment tax and National Insurance contributions by contractors who chose to provide their professional services through an intemediary company, such as personal service or limited companies. Essentially, it was a way to prevent workers from "disguising" themselves as freelance contractors as a way to pay less tax, when in practice they are performing the same role as full-time employees. Previously, IR35 only applied to the public sector, meaning the majority of charities were not affected by the tax legislation rules - with the exception of high profile not-for-profit organisations including many universities, museums and public bodies. However, a significant number of charities and not-for-profit organisations will need to take action before the 6th April to comply with the requirements of the new IR35 rules. Until now in the third sector, it has been the contractor's responsibility to determine whether they fall within IR35. However, with the extension or IR35 to the private and voluntary sectors in a couple of months time, employers will be responsible for assessing whether contractors need to pay income tax and national insurance contributions. In a nutshell, as explained by Seb Maley, the Chief Executive of IR35 Adviser and Insurance Company Qdos Contractor, "contractors will not be able to set their own tax status unless they are engages by a 'small' or private sector company. This duty will fall on the medium or large business they are engaged by". Going forward, charities will no longer be able to assume that because they engage a contractor via a limited company that they can pay that company gross for the contractor's services. Instead, charities will need to consider whether the contractor is working in an employee capacity or only for specific projects. If working in an employee capacity, contractors will need to be pay the same PAYE tax as an ordinary full-time employee - in reality, this will include anyone who is employed to cover holiday, maternity or sick leave. Those who are employed to work on specific projects will retain the right to be paid outside of the IR35 rules. Charities and not-for-profits must meet two of the three thresholds over two accounting periods to fall under the new IR35 rules. These thresholds are an annual turnover of £10.2 million or more, a balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million, and having over 50 employees. The Charity Tax Group (CTG) has warned that charities need to be aware of the rule change, as even if they do not fall within the turnover threshold they may meet the other two. Richard Bray, Vice Chairman at the CTG and Finance Regulatory & Taxes Manager at Cancer Research UK has said "it is also important to appreciate that these changes are not about tax compliance alone, but could result in significant increases in a charity's cost base". For example, the new rules could mean that a charity needs to allocate extra costs to update and improve its payroll systems. These new tax legislation rules have left some contractors worried that companies will take a risk-averse approach to IR35 and unfairly or inaccurately place them inside IR35, meaning they will pay more tax. Before the new IR35 rules are rolled out on the 6th April this year, charities and not-for-profits will need to assess their relationships with personal service companies, and ensure that they are paying their contractors in the correct way and deducting PAYE in line with HMRC rules. For more information on this article or for help recruiting the right finance professionals into your not-for-profit organisation, contact Matt Davidson on 020 7269 6323 or matt davidson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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The Benefits of Working in a Finance Charity Role

Posted by Matt Davidson

Working in a finance role in the charity sector offers you the opportunity to use your skills in finance and accountancy to support a cause you are passionate about. Many finance professionals who work in the charity sector note that job satisfaction, a good work-life balance and the chance to give back are just some of the benefits of working for a Not-For-Profit organisation. The third sector offers a huge range of opportunities, from varied roles to different working environments, many of which are just as exciting and fast-paced as the commercial sector. Considering a career change? Our specialist charity finance recruiters have provided insights as to why you should consider moving into a finance role in the charity sector. Joining the finance department of a charity or Not-For-Profit organisation puts you right at the heart of the organisation. Working in finance in this sector offers variation - you could find yourself working to raise the profile of fundraising projects one week and ensuring donations are accurately recorded the next. It is important for charities to have a strong financial infrastructure as well as committed and motivated employees to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation, all the while contributing towards its cause. Whether you are managing gift aid, maintaining financial records or developing profit projections, the way in which an organisation’s finances are run allows for goals to be reached and for invaluable work to continue successfully. Due to the importance of an effective finance department within charities, there is a constant demand for finance professionals who have a genuine interest in the sector - or even better, a genuine connection to a charity’s cause. Moving from a finance role within a large corporate company to work for a smaller charity is incredibly beneficial, as you can use your commercial background and awareness to add value to a non-profit organisation. While the emphasis in a purely commercial organisation is on profitability, the focus across many NFP organisations is now on surplus and return on investment. There are many ways in which the knowledge that comes with having a commercial background can be utilised in the charitable sector. NFP organisations often have trading companies underneath them selling a product and using the money from sales to invest back into the organisation’s valuable work. For example, the income of the British Council is projected to being in the region of 2 billion by 2020, the majority of which is going to come from commercial activities. This is similar for a charity like Marie Curie, where profits from sales and retail operations are invested back into funding care and support. While these are examples of larger organisations, smaller charities also often have a commercial function to maximise the impact of donations and funding towards the core goals of the charity. This is why charities and Not-For-Profit organisations need finance professionals who have a commercial background, as having commercial awareness means that you appreciate profit and loss, ROI, scenario planning and dealing with commercial products and sales. Salaries and benefits will depend on the size and location of the organisation, and while larger charities may have the means to offer larger salaries, smaller charities will have smaller finance departments which means more responsibility and the chance to make a big impact. Laura de Poitiers, Finance Manager at Belu Water Ltd surmises, ‘the best part of my job is seeing the work I do have a real impact on the profits we can make, the carbon savings we can deliver and the transformations these actions can effect on the world and its inhabitants.’ The main reason many people choose to work in the charity sector is wanting to give back and make a difference, as opposed to benefitting shareholders. As cited by the ICAEW, whether you want to support your local community, the natural environment or causes that affect people all over the world, you can work for an organisation and a cause that means something to you. The charity sector can be overlooked by finance professionals searching for roles, but no longer is the charity sector seen as a dusty old sector or the ‘poor cousin’. In reality, organisations within the third sector are often exciting, commercial and fast-paced and can offer a rewarding career, and you often see people who have this ‘world first mentality’ move from corporate organisations into small charities and Not-For-Profit organisations. Working in a finance charity role, you get the best of both worlds! It is an opportunity to utilise your commercial experience as well as making a real difference in society. For more information on this article, or to talk to Matt about your next finance charity role in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6323 or matt.davidson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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Why do the Public Sector struggle to secure top talent?

Posted by Matt Davidson

With Brexit and another National Election looming in the UK, it would seem perhaps that there has never been a more exciting time to work in the Public Sector. However, year after year organisations continue to feedback that they struggle to attract and retain the right people, leading to real concern across the sector. An experienced Finance Director flippantly made a valid point to me recently in that the Public sector collectively "rarely listens to itself" - decisions are made by high-level ministers who rarely weigh up all the variables before making important decisions, leaving its most important asset (its people) to pick up the pieces. Having spent the last six years recruiting for support staff across every area of the Public Sector, I have seen a number of changes – some positive, and some arguably negative. However, with more jobs than candidates out there, why are employers and recruiters still struggling to find real talent and what are the issues? Poor salary packages One of the biggest challenges the sector has had for years is that as far as remuneration goes, working in the Public Sector at mid-level has never quite managed to truly compete with Private organisations in terms of attracting top talent. Conversely, where some larger Government bodies have been able to offer more attractive salaries, there is an absence of additional incentives such as Car/Travel Allowances, Private Healthcare, and most importantly, bonuses. Interestingly, this is not helped by Public Sector employees continuing to be taxed in the same way a Private employee would be. Could tax-free salaries be a way to make opportunities more attractive? Conversely, CIPD figures have demonstrated that some organisations have spent more annually on contractors, that securing permanent staff which has curtailed their staffing budgets. This suggests processes are more challenging for Public Sector organisations, where there seems to be less of a culture for change, and ‘too many hoops to jump through’, and slow processes in order to achieve it. Short-term and limited budgets Sadly, with so much uncertainty in the sector, this has largely led to organisations struggling to make long-term financial commitments. In turn, this has led to either reliance on contractors (which offers little long-term stability) or a reliance on fixed-term contracts limiting the talent pool. If you are already a permanent employee or an interim contractor on double the daily remuneration, why would you consider a fixed-term-contract? More worryingly, however, history has created a culture of staff cuts, which will always create a negative perception on the sector in general, particularly when organisations are struggling financially. According to the CIPD, pay freezes coupled with a perceived reduction in benefits as a consequence of pension reforms may be responsible for the public sector’s challenge in attracting candidates, with 43% of public-sector respondents citing pay as one of the reasons for their difficulties. Over-reliance on agency staff The over-reliance on interims has, in turn, led to a market where thousands of permanent employees have turned to an interim career to ‘feed the need’. This has clearly had a ‘knock-on effect’ in removing some of the stellar talents from the permanent market, and a cycle where the culture is too regularly on looking at the ‘short-term solution’. Small training budgets Limited budgets available within organisations have prompted a risk-adverse culture where organisations are less likely to invest in commercial talent that can deliver more long-term value, opting for the candidates that have experience of Public Sector processes, procedures and compliance. Bigger training budgets would surely allow organisations to take risks on those talented, well-educated candidates who need training and upskilling, funding and offering candidates the chance to complete professional qualifications as part of their role. Small recruitment budgets & expertise This would seem one of the most underrated areas for organisations to invest in. Most Public Sector organisations do not invest in experienced recruiters internally, opting for advertising because they feel it is the least costly and the easiest solution. However, what price will it pay to an organisation in the long-run to recruit the wrong candidate into a role? In my experience, advertising is in itself one of the most limited methods of recruiting for a role. Only an estimated third of the candidate market actively ‘job hunt’, where another third are passive candidates (who are always open to new opportunities), and the other third will not be on the market at all. Therefore advertising will only ever gain a ‘snapshot’ of the candidate market over a relatively short period of time, where even the active candidates will only see the opportunity if they are subscribed to that particular job board! What is the most effective? To headhunt people in similar organisations and roles. The advantage of using an agency is that whilst there is a fee involved, is that they will give you access to their database that has often been compiled over a number of years and using a number of methods. Additionally, it is risk-free in that they will often charge you nothing to view CVs or interview candidates, but only if you want to appoint one of their candidates? Additionally, you have more security on finding the ‘right person’, which in the long-run will deliver far more return on investment to the organisation which dramatically overpasses the recruitment fee. The added issue is organisations lack expertise in marketing their brand as a ‘great place to work’, which recruitment agencies are masters at. Staff retention & collaboration Away from recruiting staff, organisations are repeatedly reporting back that following investing in bright, up and coming talent, they struggle to keep them. This feeds back to not enough investment, opportunities and incentives to existing staff to distract them away from other opportunities, and the commercial sector. It also suggests that a culture of budget-cuts and uncertainty are leading people to make decisions about their future, and ultimately move on. Sub-sectors such as Local Authorities and Education should also be working harder to work collaboratively and keep staff within their given sector. Conversely, the NHS ‘Bank’ system is certainly a step in the right direction. Compliance Unfortunately, we are in an age where compliance is the ultimate force driving decisions, rather than organisations being given the autonomy to make commercial decisions. This has, in turn, led to less partnership with SMEs and allowing for real competition between recruitment suppliers in the sector. Instead, organisations are favouring recruitment suppliers on government frameworks, often leading to longer-term staffing problems. Conclusion It would seem that the pre-election pledge by the government to inject the huge £13bn membership fee back into our Public Services is not so simple. Our lack of financial stability in stepping away from the single market and the uncertainty associated with it are already leading organisations to make shorter-term solutions, which in turn means shorter-term results. With the added impact of IR35 compliance and budgets, organisations more than ever are struggling to bring in the right people on either an interim or permanent basis. It would, therefore, seem that the only real solution is to widen the resources they use to find the right candidates, which in turn widens the candidate pool. When you take everything else out of the equation, doesn’t it ultimately come down to securing and retaining the right people?

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The Perks of Working for a Small Charity

Posted by Matt Davidson

Do you have an interest in working for a Not-for-Profit organisation? In this article, Sneha Choudhury discusses the perks of working for one of the smaller charities and why this may be the best option for you. Having always had an interest in charities and charity work, it was only when I became a recruiter in the not-for-profit sector that I was able to see just how many charities, and types of charities, exist in the UK alone. As well as some of the ‘house-hold’ charities such as Save the Children, NSPCC and WWF, there are many others out there which operate on less funding. For many, it is the recognition that comes with working for a large and very established brand that draws people to these types of organisations. Do people want to work for ‘significant’ organisations and perhaps not the smaller ones as they are not as well-known, or maybe also because less funding potentially equates to less stability, or less opportunities for growth? Many accountants I have worked with have at one point or another expressed their immediate desire to work for one of these ‘house-hold’ names. But why not work for a smaller charity, particularly at the beginning of your career? There are several reasons why working for a smaller charity can be more practically beneficial than stepping into a larger organisation from the offset. Devi Clarke, a third sector coach, says “Ignoring small charities as sources of employment or volunteering is like ignoring an elephant’s body and only looking at its ears or trunk. Although some are completely volunteer run, finding work in a small charity is a great way to have an impact and develop a fulfilling career.” To illustrate this, working for a smaller charity, and therefore a smaller financeteam, means that you have the opportunity to learn in a very hands-on environment. In a larger charity, there may not be as much flexibility to dabble in and out of different areas as easily, as the lines between ‘sub-teams’ (i.e. The Accounts Payable Team) are often more defined, therefore not permitting as much cross-over and opportunity to learn other areas of finance. Consequently, working in a smaller finance team may entitle you to more responsibility, as you could be working more closely with a senior member of staff and gaining more financial insight and progress. As a result when it comes to applying for your next step up, having worked for a small charity you might have ticked more boxes in the ‘experience’ department as you will have had a more encompassing exposure to finance compared to someone of a similar level who has only worked in a larger team. Kudzai Mushangwe who is a Finance Business Partner at Marie Curie Cancer Care, one of the largest health charities in the UK, started off her career working for smaller organisations before moving onto large, multi-million pound organisations. She says, “The first thing that comes to mind is the wealth of experience I gained in small companies where I had sole charge of the finance function. It allowed me to make the role my own and encouraged me to really think about how and why something was being done, which led to process improvement/implementation which is something I've been able to take with me into subsequent roles. “ From previous experience, those in the early stages of their career wanting to work for larger organisations can sometimes find it tricky without relevant company or team size experience. My piece of advice to these people would be to gain some experience which connects you to the organisation you are ultimately aiming for, whether that is in terms of type of organisation, size or complexity as this will automatically give you a good foot in the door. At Pro Not-for-Profit, we are specialists in recruitment into the charity sector exclusively, and I specialise in permanent finance recruitment, looking predominantly at junior positions from Finance Assistants to Finance Managers and everything in between (part-qualified and qualified). If you have charity experience or are looking to move into the charity sector, do be in touch for a confidential conversation to discuss your options.

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