FD in Five Minutes: Tahseen Sherwani

Third Sector speaks to the chief finance officer at Look Ahead Care, Housing and Support, a charity that provides a range of support across London and the south east

Tahseen Sherwani
Tahseen Sherwani

What made you work in the charity sector? I come from the financial investment sector, which is very different, but I always had a sector focus on health and social care. After leaving the investment sector, I wanted to work primarily with a provider in the social care sector and saw Look Ahead as my opportunity. Our mantra is that, although we’re a not-for-profit, we are also a not-for-loss.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? In a previous role, I was responsible for delivering a global flagship hospital for one of our portfolio businesses in London’s Harley Street. The entire project was a challenge – you wouldn’t normally build a cutting-edge hospital across two houses joined together. It was an engineering and project management achievement, as well as being delivered within strict financial parameters.

What do you do outside work? If I’m not driving my kids around to their various social engagements every weekend, I’ll try to sneak in a round of golf or play a game of football.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? My greatest influence would probably be my father, who came to this country and trained as an accountant, running his own business from a young age. Also John Barnes and Jan Molby for their unique approach to playing football in the latter stages of their careers at Liverpool FC.

If you were charities minister for a day, what one thing would you do? I would put in some form of long-term slush fund for charities to fall back on, within reason, as it’s a particularly tough fundraising environment.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? I am for Look Ahead because we have a real focus on our growth plan for the future and key priorities. I’d say I’m optimistic that the sector will continue to do amazing work for individuals. However, there may need to be a degree of rationalisation between some of the niches, and some charities may need to join up.

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

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Partner Content: Presented By Markel

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