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  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021 11:55 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    Mark Salway argues that charities should move away from the model of three to six months operational reserves and instead consider unrestricted reserves in terms of the following purposes:

    Downturn in income--how much and for how long?

    Increase in expenditure--what is the variance you might expect?

    To invest for the future--in developing a new project, service or to buy an asset.

    To meet one-off costs--where a known liability needs to be met, or for disallowed costs.

    For cash flow.

    A good reserves policy simply looks down each line and each risk, and sees what level of reserves is needed against each. 

    Subscribers to Charity Finance can read the full article here.

  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021 11:53 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    With immediate effect charity auditors now have to explain to what extent the audit was considered capable of detecting irregularities, including fraud. However, there is no change to the Independent Examination regime.

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:01 PM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    A week long series of events making Scotland more cyber aware and resilient.


  • Tuesday, February 09, 2021 8:52 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    On February 16 ACIE is hosting Javed Akhtar, of @CassCCE to talk about Zakat, Islamic Charities and a need for demonstrating transparency and accountability. The webinar is one hour, and you can book here.


  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 8:49 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    The Beyond Programme's main aim is to help organisations (from charities to social enterprises & CICs to grass roots groups) to:

    • Overcome challenges, problem solve and adapt services during uncertainty
    • Use digital and technology expertise to plan digital next steps in a crisis, and create new digital products
    • Connect and share learning with others working on similar issues
     Huddles, are small group sessions of expert training and coaching. They're a chance for intensive support to work through current challenges, and learn new problem solving techniques with peers. We’re offering £500 of financial support to micro orgs (under 10K income) to take part, and it’s free for others. We're running these for orgs working with:

    - children and families aged from pregnancy to age 5
    - people at risk of financial insecurity (debt housing , worklessness etc)
    - people experiencing mental health difficulties
    - people experiencing, at risk of, or recovering from sexual and domestic violence

    The deadline to sign up for this is Weds 27th January.

    In general, for the overall Beyond programme, If you’re in a position to share this opportunity, it would be an amazing help!

  • Thursday, January 14, 2021 12:12 PM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    Some charities are ‘excepted’ from charity registration. This just means they don’t have to register or submit annual returns. Apart from that, the Charity Commission regulates them just like registered charities and can use any of its powers if it needs to.

    This exception was due to expire on 31st March 2021. However the Charity Commission and the DCMS have extended it to 2031, by which time all of these should have registered.

    A charity is excepted if its income is £100,000 or less and it is in one of the following groups:

    • churches and chapels belonging to some Christian denominations
    • charities that provide premises for some types of schools
    • Scout and Guide groups
    • charitable service funds of the armed forces
    • student unions

    They are different from exempt charities, which are exempt from registration and regulation by the commission.

    More details about these are on the Charity Commission website Excepted charities - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    This extension to 2031 is intended to give excepted charities time to prepare for registration and to allow the Charity Commission as much time as possible to register all excepted organisations in a coordinated way. We understand that the Charity Commission and DCMS will publish details of the proposed phased registration arrangements in the first half of 2021.

  • Thursday, December 17, 2020 11:12 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    We've received reports of a number of frauds that were facilitated in part by lax procedures during the pandemic.

    Please remind your clients that dual signatory electronic banking is an important safeguard in interrupting scammers.

    That scammers may well take advantage of the disruption to processes and the extensive advice emails, that are likely to occur in January.

    The Charity Commission has updated its advice on Managing Finances including:

    1. Protect your charity’s money
    2. Know your charity’s financial position
    3. Keep accurate financial records
    4. Manage expenses and payments to trustees
    5. Deal with financial problems quickly

    It is also important that charities not be allowed to 'drift' in their (often generous) response to the pandemic. The Charity Commission has updated it's advice on Purpose and Rules.

  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 7:41 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)

    In addition to our regular IE workshops, which can be found on the events page, we have a series of on-line webinars across the year.


    Format: short talk + Q&A, one hour.

    16 Feb-2021 Zakat, Islamic Charities and Accounting Transparency

    21-Feb-2021     Receipts and Payment

    18-Mar-2121    Taking on a New Client

    19-April 2021   Serious Incident Reporting

    10-May-2021    How to Read a Set of Accounts for IE

    29-June-2021  Fraud and Independent Examination

  • Wednesday, October 07, 2020 9:45 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)
    • Charity Finance delivered a report in September assessing how well charities did in lockdown. The key take aways;

    • ·       9 out of 10 charities expect their ability to deliver their objectives impaired;
    • ·       Charities face a possible £10bn funding gap in the next six months with smaller charities and cultural places/event based charities suffering disproportionately;
    • ·       Charities with incomes of less than £500,000 were more likely to expect reductions of over 50% they are less likely to have been able to take advantage of furlough schemes or to be eligible for funding grants, or to have substantial reserves.
    • ·       Larger charities have been able to draw down on invested income and have furloughed up to 90% of their payroll; but those dependent on local authority grants and contracts are faced also with the threat of local authority cuts: 5-8 local authorities are threatening bankruptcy, and none have committed to the increase in last year’s National Living Wage.
    • ·       Furlough has caused issues for operational finance: management information isn’t up to date, transactions haven’t been posted for months, and budget holders are often lacking in information and direction. In particular, costs of overheads need to be recalculated as they may need to be re-costed for services to break even at this time.
    • ·       Grant making charities are receiving ever greater calls on their resources: this will include fraudulent claims: ensure that due diligence mechanisms are in place, check that there has been a strategic review prior to the application which has a clear way forward in the crisis and does not simply extend pre-Covid planning; ensure that furloughed staff are not being used to deliver outcomes and are not part of a claim against a pre-Covid awarded grant. Some of your grants may be set up to be drawn down cash: ensure that this is available and that you are monitoring any increase in demand that might shorten the period for which funding was intended.

    • Charity Finance’s October included a report on transparent reporting. This remains poor, with particular concerns around:

    • ·       While risk registers were in place, several charities did not discuss how risks were to be mitigated.
    • ·       Reserves: most charities surveyed had a brief reserves policy which quoted working capital and income risks as a reason to hold reserves; although most explained the reason for their target reserves, many did not explain how they intended to achieve this target.

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:03 AM | Farah Mendlesohn (Administrator)


    Manchester Community Central (Macc) is Manchester's equivalent to BVSC. They have recently published a fascinating report, entitled No Going Back, in which Chief Executives from 22 VCS organisations reflect on their experiences of C-19.  Read the Report.

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