The real picture – what can we learn from the Whole of Government Accounts 2013-14?

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March 30, 2015 at 17:17

Are you a government spending anorak? If so, I am sure that like me you spent all night reading through the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) 2013-14 which was published last Thursday. WGA consolidates the audited accounts of around 5,500 organisations across the public sector, to produce a comprehensive, accounts based picture of the financial position of the UK public sector. They are different from the National Accounts, because they use the International Financial Reporting Standards that charities and private sector bodies often use. So the WGA includes future spending to meet current obligations, PFI liabilities, pension liabilities and the […]

‘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 […]

What’s really new about the new SORP?

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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 […]

Going global with charity reporting

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August 3, 2012 at 15:40

  Last month a CFG symposium, hosted by MHA MacIntyre Hudson, brought leading figures together to discuss whether there should be an international reporting standard for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. Representatives from the international charity sector, including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, joined accounting bodies and standard setters hoping to pin down some of the growing number of ideas for greater commonality in not-for-profit reporting at an international level.  Acronyms aside (and there were many!), it proved to be a highly thought-provoking and constructive discussion. Currently, international accounting standards exist for both business and public sector and apply in most developed countries, […]