FD in Five Minutes: Maureen Sebanakitta

Third Sector speaks to the director of finance and corporate services at the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Maureen Sebanakitta
Maureen Sebanakitta

Why did you choose finance as a career? I really enjoy finance and accounting because the work is both challenging and varied. There are many areas in finance – taxation, accounting, management accounting, investment finance – that are equally interesting and which present the finance professional with the option of specialising should they wish to do so.

What made you work in the charity sector? I wanted to make a difference. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that my work as a finance professional enables an organisation to achieve its objectives and to have a positive impact on its beneficiaries.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? I took on a challenging finance transformation project role in 2010. It was a large organisation with complex activities, so being able to turn that around and develop my team into highly competent financial professionals was a really proud moment.

What do you do outside work? I like to read – mainly 19th century literature. I love listening to classical music – Mendelssohn is a favourite – and I enjoy baking. I also enjoy looking after my family, especially my 12-year-old daughter.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? A financial controller who I worked with in my first job. She was highly professional, very strict but nurturing, and I learned a lot from her. I credit her with many of my career achievements to date.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? I like a lot of the initiatives that the charities ministers have introduced over the years, particularly in regard to making giving to charities easier. I think I’d revisit the work that healthcare charities do. They do a lot to support the NHS, but I don’t think that their work is valued enough.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Very much so. The third sector is a large employer and very resilient. Despite all the funding challenges it has faced, it continues to press ahead with its objectives. It’s a very creative and entrepreneurial arena and I’m very optimistic about what it will continue to achieve.

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