You may not all know her but  Deirdre MacKay is at the pulse of One in Four;  Providing the financial management essential to make One in Four an effective and transparent charity. We asked Deirdre to write this week's blog, to give you an insight into what happens in the background.

I work as Head of Business Services in One in Four. My main role is that of looking after the accounting and finances of the Organisation. I am also in charge of Payroll, IT, HR admin, supporting the other admin staff and generally anything else that doesn’t specifically fall into one of the other departments!  We are an important cog in the well-oiled  wheel.  I try to ensure that our front line workers in the Advocacy and Clinical teams have all the support and tools that they need to perform their very difficult work that they carry out so admirably with our clients.  I’m not always as calm as I seem on the exterior, letting on that it’s all fine to my colleagues whilst in truth running very hard on a treadmill keeping a lot of things going behind the scenes, dealing with queries coming from all angles and from all departments!

Funding our services is an annual struggle, with no multi annual agreements for our state funding. It is my job to prepare the budgets and monthly accounts. It is a worry sometimes wondering if we will have enough funds in the year to carry out the services we have committed to.  I enjoy working with my two colleagues in the Fundraising department. We share the enjoyment of a big donation or a successful fundraiser.

I am proud of us all in One In Four that we have such high levels of Governance within our organisation, such an important factor in any Charity. Maintaining the levels of good governance and reporting, that is required by the Charity Regulator of Ireland and some funders, has increased greatly in the last two years and now requires a lot of time and effort.  The demands on my role within the sector are only becoming more onerous.  I do wonder sometimes how smaller charities deal with all of the demands made on them, on top of their primary function.

Although working as a one man (woman!) band within the Finance function of One in Four, I am greatly supported by my four colleagues on the management team. We support each other well; have a lot of laughs at our twice weekly meetings, and even some tears. In particular last year, this was the most difficult of my 10 years in One in Four. Covid 19 has been tough on everyone and we’ve worked very hard in trying to maintain a high level of service to our clients.

We’ve survived 2020 as a tighter team and I’m looking forward to having the best backroom as One in Four strives into 2021 and beyond.