BDO’s Sherif Andrawes FCA shares the moments that made him
How did Sherif Andrawes, BDO’s Global Leader, Natural Resources, go from rocket science in Glasgow to accounting in Perth, WA?
- Sherif Andrawes was always interested in accounting, but at his father’s urging first studied aeronautical engineering.
- Andrawes’ first Perth stint was from 1994 to 1996. But within a week of returning to London, he wanted to move back to Perth.
- He became a BDO partner in 2001, chairman of BDO in Western Australia in 2009, and BDO Global Leader, Natural Resources in April 2018.
I was born in Cairo in 1966 to an Egyptian father and English mother. We moved to Scotland after Dad got a job as professor of engineering at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde.
Since early high school I wanted to be an accountant, but Dad said “Accounting is boring; you love planes,” so I enrolled in aeronautical engineering. I graduated with Honours in 1987, with a thesis in hypersonic rocket science. It was during this period I met my future wife, Barbara. We actually grew up on the same street and went to the same Glasgow high school, but she was a cool muso and I was a nerd, so we’d never spoken.
After graduating in 1987, I still wanted to go into finance (to Dad’s dismay!). I knocked back job offers from Rolls-Royce and British Aerospace and moved to London to get my chartered accountant designation. Barbara moved with me the day after our engagement party. I became a CA while working at Moores Rowland (which merged with BDO in 1999).
In the late 1980s, I specialised in the audit of commodity, futures and options traders. The guys on the London trading desks were a bunch of Gordon Gekko wannabes who didn’t want to listen to an auditor. I did the futures and options traders exam to shut them up.
“The guys on the London trading desks were a bunch of Gordon Gekko wannabes… I did the futures and options traders exam to shut them up.”
In 1994, I put my hand up for a secondment to Bermuda, got promised Melbourne, and at the last minute that was changed to Perth. Barbara was too pregnant to travel, so I met our second son for the first time at Perth Airport when he was five weeks old.
After an 18-month Perth secondment, we went home to London in 1996, and within a week wanted to move back to Perth. Eventually I became BDO WA chair, from 2009 to 2018.
Since 2007, I’ve coached women’s football. After years of coaching teenage boys it is incredibly refreshing! Now I coach the Fremantle City Women’s Metro South Division 2 squad.
In April 2018, I became BDO Global Leader, Natural Resources. I feel lucky to have this global role and still get to live in Perth. The new job means more travel but that’s OK. I get to the airport early to watch the planes take off and track them on my radar app.