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FD Q&A: Neil Goulder, vInspired

1. Rise early or work late?
I’m up at 6:30am and in work at 8am to avoid the worst of the crowding on my commute.

2. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
My FCA qualification required a great deal of formal training. All my learning since I qualified has come from spending time with the staff at the sharp end of the business, understanding what they do, what their main challenges are, and what information they need in order to make the best decisions.

3. What is your management style?
I try to create an environment that is based on honesty. We have a bright team and encourage staff to add value beyond their normal role. What we do requires a great deal of thought, in order to simplify our processes. Finance’s job is to support the rest of the organisation.

4. Does delegation come easy?
I have a tiny team, as we are a lean organisation. Where a task can be delegated, it is, but there are a number of areas which require my skill set.

5. Who do you rely on most?
At work, the other three vInspired directors. They have an amazing breadth of experience. For my extra-curricular activities, it’s my wife Theresa. She knows how much I enjoy performing stand-up, but I always consult her before any new project that will cut into our time together.

6. Boardroom or restaurant?
Starbucks. I like to run things past people in an environment where I can get an honest answer. In charity, we don’t have a budget for restaurants, but we can run to get a coffee!

7. What technology would you never be without?
My iPad. During the run-up to the Olympics, it was invaluable because I had an extra four hours of travel to get to rehearsals for performing in the ceremonies.

8. Are you an FD for life?
Pretty much so. I enjoy my job, and I complement it with my outside interests. One of the joys of volunteering is that I have been able to pursue my passions regardless of whether these could be turned into a viable career or not. I performed in the last two Edinburgh Fringes with Couch Impro, and I am also in Rock Choir and perform in a musical every Christmas.

9. What keeps you awake at night?
Songs. I was in an improvised musical a couple of months ago: a bunch of us met for the first time on the Friday night and performed a one-hour improvised musical on the Sunday evening. I still have snatches of the songs spinning in my head.

10. Your critical advice to would-be FDs?
Work in a business you can be passionate about, which is culturally compatible with you. And devote some of your spare time to your passions.

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