Audit or independent examination?

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June 15, 2015 at 14:57

In light of recent changes to audit thresholds, John O’Brien from Community Accounting Plus discusses the options now available, and things you should consider.

Why is transparency and reporting important for charities?

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April 9, 2015 at 09:22

Helena Wilkinson, Partner at Price Bailey   Charities have seen a lot more focused attention from the media over recent the last year on transparency. This has had a particular focus on remuneration, but has also spanned other aspects including investments, reserves and income streams – particularly government and local authority grants. Finance leaders in charities need to carefully think about the messages and information that you disclose (and do not disclose) about your organisation.  One key aspect of this communication and interaction with the public is the statutory accounts – which are readily and freely available for most charities off […]

Audits, thresholds and transparency

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January 30, 2015 at 11:34

Last week, the Cabinet Office consultation on the future of the audit threshold for charities concluded. Charity Finance Group, in partnership with NCVO, responded to the consultation on behalf of members. Audits are an important part of the regulatory landscape for charities, and the government has proposed lifting the threshold for which charities have to have their accounts audited from £500,000 to £1m. We have supported this move, in line with responses from members to a previous consultation which proposed lifting the audit threshold. For many small and medium sized charities, audit costs can be significant and may not be […]

‘Professionalism’ is not a dirty word

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January 28, 2014 at 18:34

2014. I can’t quite believe that this is my fourth year working within the sector, but I’ve been sensing that the pressure on us as a ‘sector’ has intensified… Pensions. Pay. Investments. The way we do ‘business’. When I came to CFG in 2010, the biggest challenge taxing charity FDs was the uncertain economic climate. Now, broadly speaking, I believe that we’ve got to grips with this ‘new norm’. That’s not to say that all is rosy in the garden on the funding front, but rather that much of the contraction in our sources of income, biting so deeply after […]

Accounting for different charity structures

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November 15, 2013 at 12:22

The legal and reporting framework anchors the values shared by charities, while still allowing flexibility where there is divergence in business model. The guidance for financial reporting in charities, or the SORP, provides part of the anchor, but should also enable innovation.  That’s where references in financial reporting guidance to new age concepts like social investment can come in.  But it’s not just about the newbies; old chestnuts such as how to account for trading subsidiaries are also critical to innovation.  Charity trading has developed immensely, from something previously aligned with running a few charity shops, to contracting out services, selling […]

CEO pay – the wrong reaction?

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October 7, 2013 at 14:35

I used to work with a smashing guy whose wife applied to be on a certain reality TV programme, in which several individuals cook for each other and then mark the results. She got through to the last stages, at which point she was dropped because she was ‘too nice’ and her unwillingness to be horrid about others’ attempts would ‘not have made good telly’. Black and white positions, polarised views, angst and tension are all far more interesting than reasonableness. As a sector, we recently got sucked into perpetuating this approach on the subject of CEO pay. Whilst it’s […]

The silver lining in the charity salary saga

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August 12, 2013 at 14:23

Another week and more headlines about charity executive pay. Given the focus on bankers, business leaders, senior civil servants and local authority chiefs of late, it was really only a matter of time before charities would end up in the firing line. And it’s no surprise it’s now, or that the story continues. August, holiday season for many, leaves plenty of empty column inches for the media to fill. But while it’s saddening to see our sector being dragged through the mud in this way, it also demonstrated the strength of public connection with the charity label and has been […]

Tweaking the annual return

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July 24, 2013 at 20:05

Our policy team recently took the unusual step of completing CFG’s annual return (AR).  As in most charities, this normally falls to our finance team, so this was relatively new territory for us, and a rather a novel way to get our heads around the Charity Commission’s latest consultation, ‘Developing the content of the annual return and information displayed on the register of charities’. While not the liveliest of issues we’re working on right now, this stuff matters – our members agree as over 150 of them took the time to send us in their thoughts.  Accounts, reports and the […]