Trustees’ Week- find out how you can get involved

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August 27, 2014 at 17:17

With the launch of #onemilliontrustees video competition; Trustees’ Week 2014 (taking place on 10-16 November), is firmly on our radar.   What is Trustees’ Week?   Now in its fifth year, Trustees’ Week is a nationwide campaign organised by the Charity Commission and partner organisations, to celebrate all the wonderful things that trustees do for charities. TW 2014 is to be officially launched at the NCVO Trustee Conference on 10 November.   The theme for this year’s campaign is based around ‘development’ and ‘governance’, close to CFG’s heart. Development is about how taking on a trusteeship can play an essential […]

Inspiring financial leadership

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August 7, 2014 at 16:38

By Mike Saxton – Head of Finance Africa Governance Initiative When people in our organisations think about the finance team, inspiring and leadership aren’t necessarily the first words that come to mind. However, I think the FD role specifically, and other financial management roles too, can and should offer our organisations inspiring leadership.   I recently completed a course run by CFG by this name, and it was really valuable. The course itself covers areas such as strategy, change management, coaching and perhaps most interestingly innovation.   My ACA qualification (a number of years ago now) gave me solid technical financial expertise. […]

Tackling the looming pensions crisis

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August 6, 2014 at 15:25

Charity Commission Chair William Shawcross recently said that the “deadliest threat” to the sector comes from Islamic extremism. I, however, disagree. I would suggest that the biggest threat the sector faces comes from pensions. Without being too hysterical, there is a pensions crisis looming in the sector. But I am not actually talking about the very real funding and compliance problems each individual charity can face. I’m referring to the public’s reaction to charities having to use charitable funds to deal with these problems. It is therefore essential that as a sector we understand the full extent of the challenges […]

Pension Protection Levy Consultation

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June 9, 2014 at 16:51

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) was set up in 2005 to guarantee a proportion of the retirement income of Defined Benefit (DB) Scheme members under the event of insolvency of their sponsoring employer(s). The fund is sustained by an annual levy applicable to all schemes eligible for protection under the PPF. This levy is determined by a combination of scheme specific and risk based factors. The PPF is consulting on plans for the pension protection levy over the next three years due to a number of factors: The PPF have developed a wealth of insolvency experience over the last nine […]

Are IT teams in charities evolving from gatekeepers to digital enablers?

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March 25, 2014 at 10:19

John Simcock, Charities Director at eduserv, tells us about their latest research into Digital transformation in UK charities. This week we’ll be attending the CFG annual IT conference and thought it would be a good opportunity for charity leaders to consider the future role of the IT team within their organisation. We recently conducted research in partnership with CharityComms with 100 digital and IT charity leaders. The full findings are included in our report ‘Delivering Digital Transformation in UK Charities’ but some of the key findings may appear as cause for concern for charity leaders. It found that 73% thought their […]

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 […]