10 Mar 2014
Accountant and entrepreneur
John Tate is a qualified accountant and entrepreneur. He is a columnist for Charity Finance, special adviser to the CFG and a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School's Centre for Charity Effectiveness.
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National Council of Voluntary Organisations chief executive Stuart Etherington is planning to recommend to his organisation's audit committee that the expenses of all senior management and trustees be published online.
John Tate is unconvinced that charity expenses can't be abused as easily as MPs' expense claims.
A new group of charity leaders headed by RNID chief executive John Low has met to discuss the role of the chief executive in corporate governance, ACEVO announced today. The group, which met on Tuesday, is to work to improve performance, accountability and professionalism in the sector, and will respond to recent comments from ex minister Alan Milburn, who is chairing the Joint Committee on the draft Charities Bill. Speaking at an ACEVO conference on May 6, he warned charities that they "cannot consider themselves immune from the general loss of confidence in corporate governance", and said that the sector should adopt "governance structures capable of guaranteeing probity and professionalism".
So we have heard from Stephen Bubb – chief exec of Acevo. He has commented on the expense issue on his blog - 1,459 words, no less. Almost a book! To cut to the chase, if I read his blog correctly, he will publish his expenses to his members but not to a wider audience. A step in the right direction perhaps but with over 75% of those who responded to the Charity Finance poll saying they would like expenses published this is disappointing.
Very interesting debate. Having worked in the charity sector for nearly 20 years as a consultant I am afraid I have come across too many examples of where chief execs of charities have abused expense systems for this to be ignored. I am pleased to say that this is very much the exception rather than the rule and I am sure the vast majority of expenses claims are fair and reasonable. However there are cases when the exception applies. So let’s be transparent and above board on expenses. At the least it might stamp out some of this abuse. I think it is time for charities to be much more transparent across the board and this would be a good step in the right direction.
Whether we like it or not, some charities waste their IT investment. John Tate looks at the reasons.