FD in Five Minutes: Stephen Anstee

Third Sector speaks to the finance director for the Counselling Foundation

Stephen Anstee
Stephen Anstee

Why did you choose finance as a career?

I chose to pursue a career in finance as a way of learning about the business world as I worked out what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the experience and since then have been keen to explore a variety of roles in finance.

What made you work in the charity sector?

Having worked in business environments for many years, I wanted to be part of an organisation that gave something back to its communities. After a period helping another charity on an ad hoc basis, I recently took up the finance role at the Counselling Foundation, supporting its valuable work in training counsellors and in providing talking therapies to help alleviate anxiety and depression.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

Whether or not always successful, it would be my wish to contribute positively to whatever I’m doing in some way, big or small. It is always pleasing if I am doing something worthwhile.

What do you do outside work?

I enjoy walking our dog and have an interest in history and visiting historical buildings. I also enjoy watching sport: I am a season ticket holder at a football club, albeit one that I fear may be battling relegation this season

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do?

We all benefit from a healthy charity sector, so it would be worth exploring ways in which more people could be encouraged to participate in the sector, whether as funders, employees, volunteers or trustees. We do not always entirely see or recognise the contribution that charities can make to our society, and I would be interested in finding out more about ways to enhance awareness and measure contribution to the community.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector?

Yes, quietly optimistic. Naturally, the sector faces many challenges and has to continue to evolve to keep pace with an ever-changing environment and to ensure its financial sustainability. However, the charity sector remains a necessary and desirable part of our society, with a potentially cohesive impact on it, and will hopefully continue to be so. It is also great to see the increasing recognition that mental health charities such as ours are receiving.

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