How does your financial management shape up?

2nd July 2004

Find out by joining a Finance and Financial Management Benchmarking Study specifically focussed on charities

The Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG) is launching a study to benchmark finance and financial management in voluntary organisations, and is seeking organisations to join the study. CFDG has received a significant number of pre-registrations for participation from over 50 organisations, but is now stepping up its efforts to recruit charities to join the project.

The overall aim of the study is to help participants to improve their performance, and the initiative is in line with the Government's recent Strategy Unit report, which recommended that charities benchmark their performance against their peers. The study is focussed on those organisations with a turnover of £1m or more. It will also compare voluntary sector performance with private and public sector organisations.

Shirley Scott, Chief Executive of CFDG said "CFDG members are telling us that learning from their peers is a sure way of helping to develop processes and systems that best serve their organisations. CFDG is delighted to offer this study as part of our plans to lead the way in implementing good practice in financial management. It is so important for charities to pinpoint their strengths and areas for improvement if they want to formulate strategies for development."

Topics covered in the benchmarking study will include the role, staffing and added value of the finance function; finance training; outsourcing, collaboration and use of shared services; management accounting information and decision support; budgeting and planning; capital appraisal/project appraisal; statutory reporting and compliance; standard information return and links to output/outcome measurement; cash and treasury management; cost management indicators and processes; purchasing; contracting; transaction processes e.g. payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, nominal ledger, expense claims; reserves policy, investment policy.

Leslie Jones, Executive Director of the Charity Treasurers Forum said: "I very much welcome this initiative as in my experience benchmarking has a very important role to play in improving efficiency and effectiveness in charities. It is also very well timed in relation a number of major developments in the sector including the new SORP, Charities Bill and the development of the Standard Information Return."

- Ends-

Notes to Editors

1. CFDG expects over 100 organisations to participate. This will provide a large enough sample to allow analysis of performance by size and sub-sector.

2. The study is being led by a Steering Group comprising:
· Melvin Coleman, Finance Director, Amnesty International UK
· Shirley Scott, Chief Executive, CFDG
· Leslie Jones, Executive Director, Charity Treasurers Forum
· Robin Johnson, Finance Director, Christian Viewpoint for Men
· Hamza Ali, Finance Manager, Coeliac UK
· Sheila Kleyn, Director of Finance and HR, College of Optometrists
· Michael Horspole, Finance Director, FSU
· Patricia Yearley, Finance Manager, John Ellerman Foundation
· David Lawrence, Finance Director, Mencap
· Kathy Heeps, Finance Director, Pre-school Learning Alliance
· Kevin Geeson, Finance Director, RNIB

3. The cost of participating is £245 + VAT. The study will be undertaken by Agenda Consulting, a management consultancy focussing on the not for profit sector which last year ran a very successful benchmarking exercise - People Count - which focussed on human resources within the voluntary sector.

4. Shirley Scott is Chief Executive of the Charities Finance Directors Group. The Charity Finance Directors' Group was set up in 1987 and is an umbrella group that specialises in helping charities to manage their finance-related functions. CFDG' s 1,000 plus members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Over 60% of the top 500 charities are members of the CFDG. Between them, our members manage some £10 Billion in charity income per year.

5. Agenda Consulting Ltd is a management consultancy focused on the not for profit sector. Project-director of the Benchmarking Study is Roger Parry, previously a partner at Compass Partnership.

6. Leslie Jones OBE started his career in Local Government. In 1996 he became Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance of WWF-UK. He is also a past Deputy Chairman of CFDG. Les Jones is currently Executive Director of the Charity Treasurers Forum.

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