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A look back at the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum

Ashlynwood was one of the proud sponsors of the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum 2020 which was organised by the Charity Financials team. The event was held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London on 12 February 2020...

A look back at the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum

The Charity Financials' Leaders Forum was an insightful day which consisted of case studies, best practice, practical hints and tips about managing a charity’s finance function, from high-profile charity financial directors (FD) and other industry experts in the not-for-profit sector such as British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Blind Veterans UK, British Rowing, The Children’s Trust, Quakers in Britain, WWF, the Charity Commission and ICAEW, to name a few.

Some of the key topics discussed on the day were as follows:

The DNA of a perfect charity FD and anatomy of a modern finance team

With the growing shift on seeing FDs as deputy CEOs, with greater emphasis on stakeholder engagement and management, communication and strategy while using professional training, like MBAs, it is more important than ever before for FDs to become multi-skilled in managing their finance teams. With the application of technology making transaction processing more efficient and cost-effective, the modern finance team should aim to focus on engaging various charity stakeholders through insightful management information and reporting.

Running a charity like a business and the evolving finance function

With the growing body of rules and regulations and the greater public expectations on transparency and sustainability, it is important for charities to ensure their policies, procedures and internal controls lend themselves to this to ensure that charities scrutinise their strategic planning just like any commercial business. This will ensure a long-term sustainable operational model, with charity income heavily reliant on regular donations.

The ideal relationship between a charity and its advisors

There was a clear emphasis on nurturing a value-add relationship with a charity’s advisors, rather than simply focusing on a long-term relationship. Ensuring the charity advisors are appropriate for a given subject matter and not simply for reverting to the charity auditors in all instances by default.

Attracting, retaining and rewarding talent within a charity

No matter the size of a charity, FDs need to ensure they are getting the most experience for their available budget and retaining and rewarding the talent within their organisation. Although salary size will vary significantly between small and large charities, various other factors are influencing remuneration and recruitment strategies such as the working environment and flexibility in the workplace, as well as the diversity within the recruitment process from top-down.

Adapting investment strategies for charity assets

With over £100+ billion of charity assets under investments and the critical focus of ensuring a charity’s investment strategy is aligned to its charitable objectives, it is of growing importance that charity trustees are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of evaluating the risks and opportunities in the present economic climate.

To learn about charity investment management, read our blog.

Developments in SORP

A detailed overview of the results of the External Scrutiny Study and its findings were provided along with a rationale for the new benchmark and development of the regulatory approach.

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