Why might I join the Finance, Fundraising and Corporate Affairs Committee?
Dr Owen David is Honorary Treasurer of the BGS. He qualified in Cardiff in 1996 and has been a consultant since 2005. He works with a fantastic team in Shropshire with interests across stroke, geriatrics and beyond.
They say if you want to know what’s going on you should ‘follow the money’. By joining the Finance, Fundraising and Corporate Affairs Committee (FFRCA), you will soon learn how costly conferences are to run and how much IT support really costs. It’s not only income from members’ subscriptions and conferences, there’s the Age and Ageing income also. You learn how a charity invests wisely, remunerates its staff and manages overheads at Marjory Warren House, not to mention the broader work of the BGS throughout the regions, nations and beyond.
But your greatest contribution to this committee is helping to ensure that when the Treasurer stands up to give account and face members at the annual AGM there is no question from the floor that you and the committee have not already discussed and considered.
You may not understand why the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is not the preferred marker to inflation-proof salaries. You may not know the importance of end -of-month ‘reconciliation’ or the relevance of the ‘Revaluation Reserve’ on the balance account. But you may know the strength of feeling amongst BGS members towards Study Grants, or have considered ethical issues associated with pharma sponsorship or charities’ investments.
And although you may not be that interested in reviewing the organisation’s risk register or the need to tender for new auditors every five years, you will learn about what it takes to maintain charitable status and the basics of corporate finance. This has relevance to your career because sound financial principles are at the heart of each NHS Trust. So, becoming a committee member of the FFRCA has resonance with the decision-making processes within your hospital or workplace. Boosting your skills in this area strengthens your position locally, if you have the ambition for it.
Although telephone conferencing from your local shared office is not always as quiet as you would like, the option to put the speaker on silent is a saviour when not actively contributing. But it’s good to get out and down to the big city as it allows some face-to-face time with interesting people. Attendance at BGS HQ Marjory Warren House can be a rewarding experience in itself. How else will you know who you are ‘communicating with’ without that personal encounter?
You will discover that St John's Square in Farringdon is a rather unique part of London. Personally, I love to walk ‘overground’ as you discover EC1 is a hive of activity and within a reasonable walk of all main train station terminals. Ok, the underground station is close by if you prefer the subterranean world and your vitamin D levels are high enough. For several years I’ve been doing this seasonal journey and continue to be pleased by the changing cityscape. In so doing, you help become the institutional memory of the organisation as most members rotate through roles. Some, I know, marry London committee work with visiting relatives or friends and as the return rail fare is reimbursed, you are not out of pocket. OK, it’s second class travel as you would expect from a fiscally-minded finance committee.
Your employers will become more interested in you, if you have such activity on your CV. It helps you be seen as a grounded clinician, someone worldly-wise on the realities of service provision and the costs in favour and against change. You may be naïve to the working of committee politics, or alternatively a seasoned doctor, nurse or AHP looking for something a bit different, wishing to influence the evolution and growth of the BGS. The skills you learn from being an active member are empowering, giving you the confidence to take advantage of opportunities at a local, regional or even national level.
Collegiate committee working comes down to individuals seeking a shared outcome. But this does not always follow and you may witness differing opinions or deep-seated positions of principle generating true enthusiasm for one course of action or another. In this context, it’s a joy to witness experienced committee members come forth, though diplomacy is not often consciously felt, to conclude the meeting on time. In this regard we are fortunate our CEO and Finance Director are armed with the knowledge, experience and training to provide the right steer. The dedication and skills of our experienced in-house BGS team are not to be underestimated, but they dearly need your help to function, and will provide induction and training to help newcomers get up to speed.
Simply by being who you are and actively engaging with the committee’s work, you can advance the interests of the Society. The BGS will bring you into contact with a whole range of impressive individuals, be they pioneering practitioners or academic professors. Talk to us about joining the BGS Finance committee. It will give you a breadth of understanding about the Society’s business model and offer you concrete experience in considering questions of resources, money management, risk and reward. Although it may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, you will be surprised how welcoming we can be.
Find out more about joining the Finance Committee here.