Time for budget bingo

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March 19, 2014 at 10:20

Today’s budget is one of three ‘fiscal events’ marking the countdown to the next election and will no doubt be driven by political posturing more than economic imperatives. Despite the usual early leaks, indications are that there will be a surprise announcement, a rabbit in the box, most likely targeted at Conservative voters.  The theme this year is set to be ‘resilience’ – the Chancellor has already taken to twitter this morning to tweet about a resilient coin to reflect a resilient economy – and while the economic indicators look like they’re finally going in the right direction, we’re likely […]

The Commission: A damsel in distress?

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March 12, 2014 at 17:04

We’re not long into the new year, but already it is looking as though the increased (and sometimes hostile) scrutiny being applied to the charity sector is set to continue. This time, it’s the Charity Commission that is back in the spotlight, with the Public Accounts Committee giving a damning indictment of its performance. Last month I urged us to come together as a sector in order to respond to new pressures and change the narrative around charities. In light of these latest developments, and at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I’ll say it again. In recent […]

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

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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

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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 […]

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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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 […]