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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

  • Financial Accountant

    £44500.00 - £48000.00 per annum

    Financial Accountant, up to £48,000 + Benefits (6-month FTC) London For a large membership organisation and professional body in the UK and internationally, we're recruiting a Financial Accountant for their ...

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  • Financial Accountant

    £44500.00 - £48000.00 per annum

    Financial Accountant, up to £48,000 + Benefits (Maternity Cover) London For a large membership organisation and professional body in the UK and internationally, we're recruiting a Financial Accountant to lea...

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  • Chair

    Voluntary

    ActionAid: Chair | Salary: Voluntary | Location: Central London All over the world women and girls have less social, economic and political power, which can lead to their human rights being denied. Gender in...

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  • Management Accountant

    £45000.00 - £48000.00 per annum

    Management Accountant: £45,000 - £48,000 + Benefits, London For a global company, we're recruiting a Management Accountant on a permanent basis. Reporting to the Head of Management Accounting, this role will...

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  • Donor Finance Business Partner

    £45000.00 - £50000.00 per annum

    International Finance Business Partner: London £45,000 - £50,000 For an international NGO based in central London, we are recruiting an International Finance Business Partner. This international accounting r...

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  • Payroll and Benefits Officer

    £35000.00 - £38000.00 per annum

    Payroll and Benefits Officer: Circa. £35K - 38K+ Benefits, Croydon (12-month FTC) For a global education company, we're recruiting a Payroll and Benefits Officer on a 12-month contract basis. The Payroll and...

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  • Payroll Officer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + flexi working, private healthcare

    Payroll Officer - London £35,000 - £40,000 per arum Are you a Payroll professional who is looking for their next contract? Do you want to work flexibly? Are you in search of full autonomy in your role? Pro H...

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  • Head of Donor Finance

    £55000.00 - £60000.00 per annum

    Head of Donor Finance (8 Months FTC) £55,000 - £60,000 For a global NGO, we're recruiting a Head of Donor Finance for 8 months to cover a secondment. Reporting to the Global Financial Controller, the Head of...

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  • USAID Finance and Audit Consultant

    £250.00 - £400 per day

    USAID Finance and Audit Consultant: 3 months, £250 - 400 per day For a global NGO, we're recruiting a Finance and Audit Consultant to work on the current and historic USAID portfolio including the 2019 audit...

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  • Head of FP&A - Corporate Services

    £65000.00 - £70000.00 per annum

    Head of FP&A, Corporate Services - Circa. £70,000 + outstanding benefits For a complex, global organisation, we're recruiting a Head of FP&A for the Corporate Services. This is a leadership role with respons...

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  • Director of FP&A

    £80000.00 - £83300.00 per annum

    Director of FP&A, Cultural Engagement - up to £83,300 + outstanding benefits For a complex, global organisation, we're recruiting a Director of FP&A. This is a leadership role with responsibility for all str...

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  • Senior Change Management Lead

    £60000.00 - £65000.00 per annum

    Senior Change Management Lead (FTC to July 2021), up to £65,000 + Benefits We're recruiting a Change Management Lead for a global Finance programme to lead the People and Talent workstream. This role will co...

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  • Head of Global Projects and Change Po...

    £68000.00 - £71000.00 per annum

    Head of Global Projects and Change Portfolio, up to £71,000 + Benefits. London For a global organisation, we're recruiting a Head of Global Portfolio (Programmes, Projects and Change) to lead the management ...

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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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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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