Hear from our Volunteers – Colm Clifford

Clifford_Colm_FSAudit_2013Our volunteers are essential to the success of basis.point. Colm Clifford, partner in KPMG and volunteer at basis.point, talks about his involvement with basis.point.

Please give a short description of your role within your firm to help the audience understand your background.
I have been with KPMG since graduating in 1982 from the University of Manchester. I initially worked in the firm’s reconstruction and insolvency division until 1989, then transferred to Cork for a six month project, returning to Dublin 16 years later having worked on transactions and audits for non-financial services’ clients. On returning to Dublin in 1996, I joined the firm’s financial services business unit where, today, I act as audit partner for a portfolio of investment funds and structured products’ vehicles.

I have been associated with the investment funds industry for the past decade and have always admired the collegiality of the industry. So, when asked to lend my support to this industry initiative, it was an easy sale for Adrian Waters.

There were many other factors that appealed to me at the outset:

  • the concept of the industry’s “joined up giving”
  • the clever patronage donation fundraising model
  • the pass-through idea that 100% of all donations of basis.point would be paid out to charities, without deduction

The Irish Funds’ industry has been a tremendous success story, even throughout the GFC, and I was delighted to be able to assist the industry in giving something back to our community.

What is your role in the charity? kpmg
Besides being an individual patron and volunteer, I head up the finance committee and sit on the Board of basis.point. The ask of the finance team is threefold:

  • Financial reporting: maintaining the books and records of basis.point and undertaking all of the regular monthly and annual financial reporting requirements
  • Finance manual: developing a suite of financial policies and procedures
    Transaction processing: managing the banking arrangements and processing of accounts payable transactions
  • Assisting me are three other members of the finance committee.

What were the early challenges you encountered?
Trying to avoid the trees in Milltown Golf Club during the second basis.point golfing event in 2015 was by far the most challenging aspect to date!

Other less onerous challenges are the old chestnuts of trying to free up enough time to devote to the charity and simply keeping up to date with the heavy email traffic that emanates from all of my fellow committee heads and Board members.

How has the charity developed since you began volunteering?
My own personal view is that, whilst the charity has taken its time to get where we are today, the foundations are in place to enable basis.point to make a real and sustainable difference in the initiatives we choose to support. The journey to date has been a thoroughly enjoyable one.

The charity is still very much in its infancy but has achieved many important milestones to date. There is tremendous support for basis.point throughout the industry and I am very confident that we, as an industry, are developing an initiative that will be very successful and something that the industry should be proud of.

Where do you see it developing in the medium to long term? 
In the early days, the focus has been on developing a framework that can support an organization that will grow strongly in the years ahead.
I know the fundamental building blocks are in place today to enable strong momentum on the fundraising side and I believe we are on track to create a charity that will make a long lasting impact in the areas we support

What would your advice be to someone thinking about getting involved?
The charity needs lots of volunteers to sustain the objective of distributing 100% of every donation that is made to basis.point. To date, over 100 people have volunteered their time. Take a look at the basis.point website, which explains the many ways you can get involved.

Tell me something that no-one knows about you.
Whilst I charge by the hour, I do not wear a watch.

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