Founder and Director Inspired Financial Management Solutions
Kashnee Sewnarain is a qualified chartered accountant who holds substantial professional experience in public sector financial management and capacity building. She founded Inspired Financial Management Solutions which employs 11 individuals, eight of whom are women, in a space of five years.
The company focuses on improving skills and capacity building for government organisations in budgeting, accounting, financial statements preparation, systems implementation, and financial management. They have been operating for five years and have a client base comprising a number of government organisations across the country. She believes that this growth has been achieved by producing the best quality of work for her clients, and with the utmost integrity and ethics as the core foundation to the business.
“My journey was actually surprising,” said Kashnee. “I really didn’t know what I wanted to study when I was in school. My accounting teacher suggested that I study accountancy, which I thought was a boring book kind of job. However, based on my parents’ insistence, I continued with a chartered accountancy degree.”
Kashnee commenced her studies with a loan from the bank, where repayments were required once she completed her degree. She attempted to study honours part time whilst working and found it really difficult to balance by work commitments with her studies, and eventually gave up on this.
A few years later, after much effort, Kashnee’s former boss convinced her to return to her studies. This meant that she needed to redo her third-year studies again, as her degree was more than three years old, and two additional years of studying toward Honours (CTA), as Unisa did not offer the one-year honours programme as a part time option.
Kashnee commenced studying again at the age of 32, newly married, and possibly the oldest student in her class. She qualified as a chartered accountant at the age of 36. Kashnee believes that there are many people in her life that God has placed in her path, who have had a positive impact in her career, which she is grateful for. “My foundation comes from my parents. My mom has been an amazing role model to me. She’s always encouraged and believed in me that I could do anything that I put my heart and soul into.”
“My dad has been my sounding board. He’s actually my biggest critic, which has made me stronger because he always questions my decisions and makes me consider the pros and cons. He’s been an amazing support to me.” Her husband has also been her biggest supporter and had resigned from his job to support her in achieving her goals and building the business together. She indicated that she would not be able to do what she does, without his incredible support and understanding.
One client at a time
Her vision is to drive positive change in the public sector one client at a time. “I believe in training and capacity building and enabling officials to do the job right the first time. I’m not a person that would want to do the job for somebody else, but rather show them how to do it themselves.”
She strongly believes in the ‘good’ in government, which is often unseen. “There are many government officials I work with on a daily basis that really want to see the difference in government.” She indicated that there is much need to maximise on this by equipping and supporting these individuals to be the best that they can be.
Since its establishment, the company has trained approximately 400 government officials to be able to do their job better, with great success in being able to successfully perform their functions with minimal support. Kashnee added, “We also play a strong role in terms of aligning budgets to the Integrated Development Plans, which enhances that service delivery is achieved in communities. The value for money that we bring is that we help municipalities bring value to the communities.”
As an individual, Kashnee voluntarily serves on the Eastern Region SAICA Public Sector Committee. In her role, she focuses on change management, building capacity and knowledge in the public sector and offers capacity building and training workshops for government officials at no cost to strengthen their knowledge around key technical issues.
A previous director of KZN Provincial Treasury, she has a proven track record of assisting in improving audit opinions in the public sector and has been instrumental in leading financial management reforms within the province. She further led the implementation of municipal systems reform in KZN, which impacted on financial management processes for municipalities.
Level of expectations
Being a business that operates in the space of government, it has been challenging at times to be appointed to undertake work, based on merit. However, Kashnee believes that the knowledge and skills that the company possesses has held them strongly in this regard, whilst being resilient in their beliefs of integrity and ethics.
Her future goal is to continue to bring change to the public sector through capacity building and training. A question that Kashnee often asks her clients is: ‘What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?’. Her advice to young women is “No matter what you choose to do, you need to work out what is the legacy you want to leave behind and work towards it. Give it everything you’ve got. You are never too old to study and reach your dreams.”
Relaxing and unwinding is difficult when you run a business. When Kashnee has the opportunity, she spends time relaxing on weekends. She enjoys spending time with family and says, “I have three beautiful dogs; they give me a lot of relaxation to take my mind off things.”
In conclusion, being part of KZN Top Business Women means that Kashnee has an opportunity to: “Share my knowledge, share what I’ve achieved and to inspire young people that they can do anything that they put their mind to.”