External contributor / Sarah Morris

HFMA mentor

I am a CIMA qualified accountant with 15 year’s experience working in the finance functions of various public and private organisations. For the last 5 years I have worked at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) supporting the Women & Children division and the corporate function (covering everything from estates to transport to HR). I am currently working as a Project Accountant bringing together teams from across the hospital to help drive forward various initiatives.

Before working for RCHT I worked for a university in Sydney Australia, acting as a business partner between finance and the Heads of School. Before this I was based in London where I worked at a property company, a post production house and an arts centre. Before this I worked at a bank and having graduated as an economist swore never to become an accountant. 

That was before I realised that being an accountant is more than being someone that follows a set of processes and tells people off for spending too much money. To me being an accountant is about being a finance professional who takes the time to work with the teams they are supporting to understand the activity and cost drivers that they are facing. Helping them to prioritise their focus and to find smart efficiency’s, working smarter not harder.

It’s also about someone who is a team player in the finance team – there are so many aspects and roles within finance and they have to complement each other and work together as one team to support the rest of the organisation.

As someone who didn’t originally set out to have a career in finance, or in the NHS, I feel incredibly lucky to be doing both of these things. I believe our best work comes when we are passionate and engaged about how we can add value, making changes and not just accepting processes as a given. Asking questions and understanding why we do or don’t do something.

My skills are to be naturally analytical and questioning, proactive in seeking answers and solutions and always asking if I don’t understand something. Especially acronyms – I am always the one sticking my hand up to ask what they actually mean!

As I mentor I can help you break your goals down to achievable steps and work with you to achieve them and hopefully signpost you to any additional support you need to reach your potential. I believe you are in control of your career and anything is possible once you set your mind to it. I will be a reassuring and encouraging voice in your ear. Creating a safe and confidential place for you to open up about what it is you really want to achieve/work towards. Stepping out of the usual day job and giving you the space and time to think about the longer term.