FD in Five Minutes: Paul Lismore

Third Sector speaks to the finance director at the Education Support Partnership

Paul Lismore
Paul Lismore

Why did you choose finance as a career? It’s a strange answer, but it wasn’t really a conscious decision. I’d been working for a while and felt I wanted something more challenging. Then I saw an advert for an accounting technician role in an audit firm. It looked interesting, so I applied. Once I was working and studying finance, I realised this was for me.

What made you work in the charity sector? Having gained a lot of experience and achieved qualifications in the commercial sector, I realised that I wanted my work to matter more than just profit. So I spoke to some friends working in the third sector and I could hear from how they described their work the passion they had. So I decided to move into the sector.

What do you do outside work? I’m a keen reader and do love to visit other places. I do a lot of city breaks, mainly by train so that I can combine the travel with the reading. My favourite books are science fiction and two of my best trips have been to Berlin and Prague.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? No one individual, but having been lucky enough to talk to front-line service-delivery staff in a variety of organisations and see first-hand the work they do, it has given me the motivation to ensure me and my teams support them as best we can.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? I’d ensure that charity leaders had a bigger voice in shaping policies, particularly policies that can negatively affect the most vulnerable.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Yes. There are so many committed, passionate individuals who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes. That is what will drive the sector forward.

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Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

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When a property is being constructed, VAT is charged at the standard rate. But if you're a charity, health body, educational institution, housing association or finance house, the work may well fall into a category that justifies zero-rating - and you could make a massive saving