Share

No hope?

No hope?
Blogs

No hope?

Finance | Gareth Jones | 17 Jan 2008

The summer used to be a quiet time, or perhaps it just seemed that way. In any case, in the two months since Charity Finance last appeared, there has been no shortage of reports and announcements. But on closer examination is there anything that is really new?

The National Audit Office reported on the complexity of funding faced by large charities in public service delivery and called for a simplification in the process. Futurebuilders and acevo shocked everyone by stating that the commissioning process needs improving. Gordon Brown promised the sector the earth, in the shape of £515m, as he unveiled the long- awaited Third Sector Review, but this looked less impressive once the new commitments of funding had been untangled from existing promises and announcements we thought we'd sort of heard before.

Yes, the above activity shows that the sector remains firmly on the government's radar, but where is the evidence of real progress on removing the obstacles that seem to have been there for years?

Another thing we have heard before is the official line on irrecoverable VAT, with the government's stubbornness demonstrating an admirable consistency of approach missing in some of its other operations. But the fact the latest indication that the sector really should shut up about its £500m burden came from its new minister was more worrying.

It's early days yet for Phil Hope (pictured) but the signs are he is going to be more effective at provoking witty (or otherwise) headlines on his surname than action within government. He is certainly no Ed Miliband and while the younger Brownite meteor could be seen purposefully walking into an urgent meeting on the latest crisis in the countryside, Hope was left with his foot in his mouth over comments he made suggesting that the sector had given up on the perennial VAT bugbear. Which was certainly news to the Charity Tax Group and Directory of Social Change among others.

Not a good start to Hope's engagement with the sector by dismissing out of hand one of its major gripes, seemingly without taking the time to fully understand it. He could argue that by getting the VAT thing out of the way early he's controlling expectations but it doesn't inspire much confidence of Hope becoming the dynamic champion the sector needs.


Qualified successes

There was a time when having career aspirations within charity finance would have been considered at best worthy but dull, but much has changed. There are now a number of qualifications available for those wanting to develop in this area (find out more).

While the availability of these courses is great, senior management, including finance directors, have a responsibility to encourage aspiring staff to study, by motivating and supporting them both in terms of time and cost. We have heard a lot from the CFDG recently about the changing role of the finance director, and the increased focus on strategic involvement, which is all well and good and reflects the position of its current membership. But it, and its members, should also surely be playing their part in preparing the FDs of tomorrow.

CFDG does offer one-day courses on the basic essentials of charity accounting. And while it is encouraging that Keith Hickey, its chief executive, was among the first to complete the ICAEW's new diploma via the experience route, and is encouraging professional development generally for members, could more be done for finance staff starting out their careers? After all they could be CFDG's future members.

Clearly, finance directors coming into charities from the corporate world with good commercial habits have been a major factor in driving professionalisation forward and this shouldn't be lost. But if more of the sector's future FDs are coming into their role from within the sector with appropriate charity finance qualifications, they will be more effective managers both from a technical finance point of view and in their understanding of the sector generally. Which will in turn drive up their contribution to strategic matters. 

Gareth Jones is a senior reporter for Charity Finance magazine

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Ian Allsop (63) John Tate (56) David Davison (49) Robert Ashton (41) Tania Mason (24) Andrew Hind CB (19) Gordon Hunter (17) Daniel Phelan (14) Vibeka Mair (12) David Ainsworth (12)
David Philpott (10) Celina Ribeiro (8) Niki May Young (8) Rui Domingues (8) Andrew Chaggar (5) James Brooke Turner (4) Sir Stuart Etherington (4) Kate Sayer (3) Jeremy Swain (3) Garreth Spillane (3) Alistair Gibbons (3) Ian Clark (3) Claris D'cruz (2) Stephen Lloyd (2) Richard Maitland (2) Adrian Beney (2) Iain Pritchard (2) Pauline Broomhead (2) Martin Brookes (2) Tesse Akpeki (2) Nick Brooks (2) Stephen Hammersley (2) June O'Sullivan (2) Dan Corry (2) Peter Holbrook (2) Belinda Pratten (2) Simon Steeden (2) Jonathan Bruck (2) Dan Gregory (2) Mark Astarita (1) Don Bawtree (1) Sir Stephen Bubb (1) Victoria Cook (1) Lindsay Gray (1) Rachel Holmes (1) Nick Ivey (1) Iona Joy (1) John Kelly (1) Michael King (1) Heather Lamont (1) Lucy McLynn (1) Chris Oulton (1) Julian Rathbone (1) Socrates Socratous (1) Richard Weaver (1) Karl Wilding (1) Richard Williams (1) Roger Chester (1) Matthew Bowcock (1) Joe Saxton (1) Reuben Turner (1) Martin Farrell (1) Paul Gibson (1) Jonathon Grapsas (1) Andrew Scadding (1) Simon Hebditch (1) Su Sayer (1) Debra Allcock Tyler (1) Martin Birch (1) Mark Hallam (1) Jonathan Lewis (1) Sara Llewellin (1) John Low (1) Dame Mary Marsh (1) Ruth Murphy (1) Colin Nee (1) Julia Unwin (1) Kate Rogers (1) Malcolm Hayday (1) Filippo Addarii (1) Kimberley Scharf (1) Jakes Ferguson (1) Jessica Sklair (1) Joe Turner (1) John May (1) Julian Blake (1) Rosie Chapman (1) Andy Williamson (1) Malcolm Hurlston (1) Andrew Samuel (1) Chester Mojay-Sinclare (1) Paul Amadi (1) Kirsty Weakley (1) Luke Fletcher (1) Peter Mitchell (1) Billy Dove (1) Andrew Ketteringham (1) Jackie Turpin (1) Lynne Robb (1) Jonathan Crown (1) Paul Emery (1) Ruchir Shah (1) Pesh Framjee (1) Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs (1) Moira Protani (1) Vicki Prout (1) Michael O'Toole (1) Dawn Austwick (1) Lisa Clavering (1) Paul Farmer (1) Neelam Makhijani (1) Logan Anderson (1) Andy Rich (1) Sharon Martin (1) Asheem Singh (1) Leigh Daynes (1) Abdurahman Sharif (1) Lynne McMahon (1) Richard Caulfield (1) Carolyn Sims (1) Making Good: The Future of the Voluntary Sector (1) Ashley Horsey (1)
Less +++ More +++

Charities must not let the backlash against the Samaritans Radar app put them off new technologies

4 Nov 2014

Kirsty Weakley thinks the backlash to the Samaritans’ web application is unfair and worries it might...

Fiery rocket or damp squib?

4 Nov 2014

As bonfire night approaches, John Tate is cautious about the pace of the new developments setting the...

Learning from history

3 Oct 2014

With the emergence of the cloud, the number of accounting software options is growing fast – just as...

Society Diary: The best loo joke, the typical charity fan, and the Guide Dogs fundraiser sacked for sight problems

21 Nov 2014

Our weekly round-up of outlandish and interesting information collected from the corners of the charity...

How to avoid over-reliance on the chief executive

20 Nov 2014

Tesse Akpeki has some top tips for trustees on how not to become dependent on one member of staff.

It is time for voluntary sector leaders to set a new direction

10 Nov 2014

The charity sector needs to "get off the back foot", says Caroline Slocock, editor Making Good: the Future...