Popular Tags:

Ian’s insight: The world needs grown ups

Written by:

September 2, 2013 at 14:25

I am writing this article in mid-August – a week after the Wonga furore and in the midst of the charity salary ‘revelations’ – the silly season indeed! Fundamentally the stories relate to a worrying disconnect, fuelled by poor journalism, between public perception of how charities operate and the reality. The debate is not helped by the view that charities are homogeneous – that the challenges of leading a complex organisation such as Oxfam or Barnardo’s are comparable with those facing a local community-based charity. The public would not make the same assumptions about Tesco’s and a local family run […]

The silver lining in the charity salary saga

Written by:

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 […]

Cloud services: are they right for your charity?

Written by:

August 12, 2013 at 09:54

Cloud services is bringing change to organisations. The charity IT department as we know it, with its heavy reliance on physical in-house servers, and tight control of software choices, will be dead in five years – if it lasts that long. A mixture of devolution of budget control and technological decisions being made by users outside of IT , means that to stay ahead of the curve we need to actively engage in this process. One of the biggest changes we’ve already heard about is cloud services. The opportunity for charities to reduce costs (or at least move from Capex […]

The Gift Aid declaration – what’s the big deal?

Written by:

August 9, 2013 at 12:18

The Gift Aid declaration has long been a prickly issue for charities tasked with squeezing it onto fundraising forms – and one we have spent countless hours debating with HMRC at the Charity Tax Forum.  The declaration is needed as Gift Aid is a tax relief (rather than public expenditure) and HMRC need to be able to ensure that Gift Aid claimed on specific donations can be linked back to the donor’s tax affairs.   However, the length of the statement, requirement to collect  and reference to no less than four different forms of taxation (income tax, capital gains tax, council […]

What’s really new about the new SORP?

Written by:

August 5, 2013 at 12:22

We haven’t had a new SORP since 2005, and in that time we have managed to bring in a whole new accounting framework in the UK.  Despite this, if you ask the average charity auditor what difference the new SORP is going to make day-to-day, the answer is likely to be, ‘erm, probably not much’. Many of the major issues that had the potential to de-rail charities were dealt with in earlier consultations on the accounting standards – such as valuing donated stock in charity shops.  It’s important to remember that the SORP only interprets and provides guidance on these […]

Tweaking the annual return

Written by:

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 […]

Business rate relief for charity shops in Wales: why it matters elsewhere too

Written by:

July 11, 2013 at 14:16

The business rates relief available to charities has been thrust into the spotlight of late.  As well as a number of high profile cases linking charity rate relief to tax avoidance by landlords, they have also been the subject of debate in Wales, following a report by the Business Rates Task and Finish Group commissioned by the Welsh Government. At present charities occupying commercial property are entitled to relief on business rates, provided it is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.  This includes 80% mandatory relief funded by central government, which local, or ‘billing’ authorities can choose to top […]

It takes two to tango with the social investment tax relief

Written by:

July 10, 2013 at 12:26

With social investment recently hailed by the prime minster as ‘a great force for social change on the planet’ you’d be forgiven for thinking there was rather more of it going on. Nonetheless, the deals do appear to be slowly catching up with the rhetoric – recent research suggests that social investment was up 22% to £202m in 2011/12, and several early guinea pigs have shown signs of success – reoffending is down at Peterborough Prison and Mencap’s £10m bond recently sold out sooner than anticipated. Following the launch of Big Society Capital, the Social Stock Exchange and Social Impact […]

Little good news for charities in 2013 Spending Review

Written by:

June 27, 2013 at 09:11

There was little cause for optimism for the charity sector in the Government’s 2013 Spending Review, with a few niche giveaways overshadowed by more details on planned welfare reforms and further cuts to local government. What’s it all about? The 2013 Spending Review divided up a pre-determined amount of spending between departments for the 2015/16 financial year, aiming to make total savings of £11.5bn on 2014/15. It also outlined future changes to ‘annually managed expenditure’, which is made up largely of welfare and debt interest payments and accounts for just over half of total government expenditure. This round of cuts […]

The significance of the Spending Review

Written by:

June 25, 2013 at 13:38

In 2010 the Spending Review set departmental expenditure limits (DELs) from 2011/12 to 2014/15, outlining details of savings in the region of £86bn over that time. Tomorrow, nearly three years later and not much closer to eliminating the structural deficit, a new Spending Review will set DELs for the year 2015/16, aiming to achieve another £11.5bn of cuts. The next general election is set for 2015 and Labour has already said they will honour DELs set for the 2015/16 financial year.  The significance of this review is not necessarily the length of the period to which it refers though, but […]