Accounting at the sharp end: A report from the Community Accountancy Conference 2014

Written by:

February 10, 2014 at 15:57

I’ve not long returned from a short sojourn in rain-drenched Birmingham. Several CFG colleagues and I donned both our waterproofs and chainmail armour in order to sally forth into the number-crunchers’ front-line of battle – community accountancy…! For those not in the know, a community accountancy service (CAS) is defined as “a project or organisation which seeks to support voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) on issues of financial management and accounting.” The focus of the support is normally on the small to medium VCOs – those with less than £250,000 annual income, and the majority of the support provided by […]

‘Professionalism’ is not a dirty word

Written by:

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 […]

Mergers during the recession; why weren’t there as many as expected?

Written by:

January 15, 2014 at 09:24

In the wake of the launch of our most recent survey in the ‘Managing in a Downturn’ series, we take a look at what the last five instalments have told us about the scale and form of mergers in the sector. The decision to merge in the for-profit sector is ultimately motivated by the fiduciary duty to maximise shareholders’ ROI. One might expect a similar logic to apply to the charity sector; mergers enable greater resource for maximising beneficiaries’ benefits. Indeed, in the heyday of the economic recession in 2008, many expected a larger number of charities to merge as […]

CFG Policy Highlights 2013

Written by:

December 23, 2013 at 12:27

As 2013 comes to an end, we wanted to take this opportunity provide you with you a brief summary of some of our activity and a sneak preview into what lies ahead for 2014. Take a look to remind yourself of the role we have played in shaping and responding to changes in: The economy; tax; pensions; SORP; investment and social investment; scrutiny of the Charity Commission; impact; small charities; and much more; all in representation of the sectors’ finance professionals. Our members and corporate subscribers support has been invaluable this year and we look forward to working closely with […]

Panorama – moral dilemmas for the charity sector

Written by:

December 13, 2013 at 13:31

    It’s difficult to avoid noticing the fallout of Tuesday’s Panorama investigation into some of the UK’s leading charities. The documentary looked at a mixed bag of the sector’s perceived hypocrisies; complaints largely guided by the assumption that being charitable is synonymous with ‘moral’. There are a number of things which on initial inspection may appear to fit neatly into an ‘inappropriate for charity’ box. But it’s not that simple. Charitable status itself (granted on meeting the public benefit test) accommodates a wide range of moral values, expressed in a charity’s mission. These values may be inconsistent from organisation to […]

Caron Bradshaw reflects on CFG’s year with Christmas cheer

Written by:

December 13, 2013 at 10:19

It has suddenly hit me that 2013 is nearly over. I cannot believe how quickly the year has gone! Well, they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. I am taking this time of year as my one opportunity to look a little inwardly and indulgently at the past year – and a lot of things have been happening for us… To start with, we embraced a new vision and purpose: ‘inspiring 
the development of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector’. I believe this is the final piece in the jigsaw in terms
of articulating what CFG […]

Oh the weather outside is frightful… but in here it’s Autumn, delightful!

Written by:

December 4, 2013 at 13:43

Before you’ve had time to open door 5 of your advent calendar tomorrow the Chancellor will be standing up to give his, ahem, Autumn Statement.  Unlike previous years he may be able to strike a warmer tone from the start with this one.  The usual downscaling of economic projections will most likely be swapped for an altogether more positive summary of the economic position; growth figures, for once, may be bigger than expected. Reason for the Chancellor to celebrate?  This will certainly help Osborne to back up his plan to stick with the plan.  It might also give a bit […]

Charities: growth or sustainability – why it matters for their pensions

Written by:

December 3, 2013 at 13:29

As the House of Lords conducts the second reading of the Pension’s Bill today, there are many valuable points being made by industry and stakeholder representatives. These include the ‘unrivalled opportunity’ to create single-tier state pensions; more changes to auto-enrolment legislation; further discussion on pensions charges and a look at adapting legislation concerning fund transition to take into account the current transient workforce. (Our own recent and upcoming work on some of these issues is covered in our latest blogs on auto-enrolment and our consultation response to pension’s charges) However, while these high-level debates rage around us, CFG are concerned […]

We’re all in! Are you?

Written by:

November 12, 2013 at 10:52

‘In what?’ I hear you ask. No, I’m not referring to being in CFG’s new offices, what I mean is ‘in a pension scheme’ of course. Technically, at CFG we’re not all in yet but we will be in the next couple of years. Karren Brady happily tells us that she’ll be in too, as will a rapper named Rochelle, millions of workers and most of the 800,000 staff working for charities. So, in advance of us launching a new guide for charity employers on how to make sure they get everyone ‘in’ (look out for it this Wednesday), I […]

CFG has its say on the Charities SORP consultation

Written by:

November 4, 2013 at 11:28

The Charity ‘Statement of Recommended Practice’ (SORP) is the principal document informing charities on how they should report income, spending and activities to the general public. A new version, not updated since 2005, was finally put out for consultation in July and has understandably been a major focus of CFG’s work ever since. We estimate that over 250 of our members have actively contributed to our response which we published today.  We’ve been trying to emphasise the significance of the SORP in sector accountability, ensuring consistent and proportionate levels of transparency.  Hopefully some of this work has paid off, but […]