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Governance, regulation and compliance

New report raises concerns about complacency on financial governance

A report from MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Charity Finance Group based on a survey of over 120 trustees has raised concerns about complacency on financial governance within charities. These concerns are in line with the findings in “Taken on Trust” a report on the awareness and effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales, which was published yesterday.

57% of respondents said that they understood strategic financial governance matters well or very well, with only 12% saying that they had a poor or inadequate understanding. This is very positive and indicates that boards are taking financial matters seriously.

Yet 84% of respondents said that it would be beneficial for their charity to have a better understanding of strategic financial governance matters.

This could be linked to the fact that only 16% of respondents always assessed board competency for charity finance skills, with 28% assessing skills sometimes and 30% occasionally. This was compounded by the fact that 47% of respondents never or only occasionally assessed the effectiveness of their financial governance.

Other interesting findings were:

  • Only 22% of charities indicated that they always made available charity finance training for trustees that needed it.
  • Less than one in five respondents considered that they had the complete skills and knowledge required to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • 49% of respondents said that they had used the latest Charity Commission guidance on charity finance.


To support charities, MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Charity Finance Group are launching are a new free guide on charity finance for trustees at the end of trustee week on the 17th November 2017.

Commenting on the findings of this report, Sudhir Singh, Partner and Head of Not for Profit, MHA MacIntyre Hudson said:

“Strong financial governance is a major contributor to successful and effective charities, so whilst we don’t want to be overly critical of the good intentions of most trustees and charities, it is difficult to escape the very clear conclusion that many people just need to do better.”

Andrew O’Brien, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group said:

“This report is an important wake up call for the charity trustees and executive teams. Every charity should be regularly assessing its skills and understanding at board level to ensure that it has the ability to govern itself financially. There are lots of resources out there, but charities need to make a commitment to using them. Complacency is simply not an option.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

  • For more information, you can contact Andrew O’Brien, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group (andrew.o’brien@cfg.org.uk or 07889129971) or Sudhir Singh, Partner and Head of Not for Profit, MHA MacIntyre Hudson (singh@mhllp.co.uk or 07802 860189
  • The survey was undertaken before CFG’s Annual Conference in May 2017.
  • Over 120 responses were received from a variety of charities with incomes in the range from less than £1m to over £100m.
  • Respondents considered 12 questions and also provided further useful comments.
  • A full copy of the report can be found on the CFG website

 

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