Where you do business

Paul Dixon is the newest member of staff at ACVO, the Third Sector Interface for Aberdeen. His role is managing our Financial services team but as an independent charity funded by Scottish Government, ACVO provides a diverse mix of interventions in making the City a better place to live, work and do business. Over the next few months, we will be introducing the full range of our colleagues’ work to you via the Chamber.

You should imagine Paul’s story told in a good Lancashire accent, not lost despite living in Fraserburgh for sixteen years. Originally from Oldham, past colleagues have been known to refer to him as “the boy from the Hovis ad”.

Paul said “I am a relatively new member of staff, joining in July 2019. I guess what I am really enjoying is getting to know my 13 colleagues starting to understand what is important to the organisation, where I fit into our wide range of services and what I can provide taking the organisation forward. There is no doubt about opportunities for us to work with organisations in different areas. I have been a qualified CIPFA accountant since 1984. I worked mainly in the public sector but also spent 5 years in an SME. I spent 15 years with Aberdeen City Council and worked in social care finance for much of that time, with my first role as Commissioning Accountant which included negotiating third sector contracts. Now I have the opportunity to see life on the other side of the fence and rekindle some relationships.

We have almost a dozen Third Sector organisations – charities, social enterprises and community groups - to whom we offer payroll and independent examination services and this is an area we may expand. We in the Finance team also engage regularly with the private sector, for example, in relation to supplies of services we need to run our business, with our landlords and with accountants finalising accounts for a mutual client. In addition, there are developments in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility to ensure efforts are more beneficially directed. It is important for companies to understand the nature of the beast that they are dealing with and the third sector needs to understand the governance arrangements of the companies they seek relationships with. That is an area we look to provide some leadership and bringing people together. TSIs are funded for every local authority area, an honest broker with no axe to grind, building an in-depth and detailed knowledge of the local community and knowing where the complexity lies in meeting the need.

A significant step forward for me was attending the ACVO Board meeting for the first time recently where I presented a paper on a new opportunity to get an idea of their attitude to risk. I am part-time and it is important that I don’t spend time investigating things for which there is no appetite. The Board are clearly people who have a wide range of knowledge and experiences and a strong commitment to the third sector. They have just also had an excellent session with the whole staff team and are now looking to identify new areas where they can assist.

Meanwhile, I now have time to enjoy life outside the workplace too. I’m now a keen golfer and treasurer at Fraserburgh GC and I have three children and two grandchildren to follow –making up for spending less time on my other two great loves: Oldham Athletic and The Rolling Stones. I have been to over a hundred different football grounds watching Oldham and twenty Stones concerts!

ACVO feel honoured to have Paul on our team and showing his continuing commitment to his adopted home in the North-east of Scotland. ACVO provides a book-keeping and finance service tailored to the needs of the Third sector. Whether you know of a community group who needs to formalise financial systems, a social enterprise with regular book-keeping and management reporting requirements or a charity with compliance needs, or your company has a question about working with the Third Sector, get in touch and we will see how we can best help.