Finance Matters - CFDG looking at strategic role of finance and impact of charities

19th April 2006

The Charity Finance Directors' Group is using the publication of its Annual Conference programme 2006 on 31 May 2006 to look at the changing role of charities in society, and specifically at what role finance plays in the changing scenario. With the increased government focus on working in partnership with charities, and growing impact-reporting requirements, to evaluate and hence improve performance and increase accountability to stakeholders, CFDG is looking to discuss the importance and role of finance in the charities sector.

As its membership has been growing steadily over the last few years, CFDG now nears 1200 charity members. The growth in numbers has been accompanied by a wider spread in the issues of concern to the very diverse membership coming together within CFDG, aiming at best practice in financial management of charities.

With the recent arrival of a new Chief Executive, Keith Hickey, formerly Finance Director at Help the Aged, and with CFDG activities growing year on year, the organisation decided it did not only want to do a topical conference this year, but also to use the event to look at the changing role of the Finance Director and the skills required to deliver in the reality of today's world, especially as the conference is not for members only, but open to the wider sector, and so a good opportunity to get a broader discussion going.

Keith Hickey says, "Senior finance professionals in charities face an ever widening spread in their roles. Finance often also looks after resources, IT, HR, Legal Services, facilities - while at the same time having to stay on top of the complex regulatory compliance issues all charities face. However, the skills to deliver in the current world are not solely technical, they require strong partnership, influencing and negotiation skills and to recognise the value of good communications internally and externally to the charity. The Finance Director will often take the lead in the strategic development of the charity and have a responsibility for its long-term financial viability. While CFDG's activities throughout the year do address the different individual areas, we want the conference this year to encourage a discussion of a vision for how finance relates to the broader role of charities in today's society, and the skills required to do so."

Apart from sessions looking at finance within the organisation, in relation to other key strategic areas, one programme stream will focus on charities in public service delivery, and another one on performance measurement and impact reporting.

David Membrey, Deputy Chief Executive of CFDG says "It has been important for us this year to have even more charity professionals speak from personal experience then in past years, in addition to other sector experts. The charity speakers this year will come from Community Network, Amnesty International, RNID, The Media Trust, Action for Blind People, Jewish Care, Breast Cancer Care and Marie Curie Cancer Care - a wide variety of organisations with different experiences, but all with a serious view of finance and the importance of sound strategic management. We are looking forward to the conference not only for the activities and presentations of the day, but also because of the questions which will hopefully be discussed and raised, which will influence our work over the next year."

- Ends -

Notes to Editor:

1. The Charity Finance Directors' Group was set up in 1987 and is an umbrella charity that specialises in helping charities to manage their finance-related functions. Visit for further information.

2. The CFDG Annual Conference is an annual event, which has attracted about 300 senior charity finance professionals over the last few years.

3. CFDG's 1150+ plus members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £10 billion in charity income per year.

4. Keith Hickey joined CFDG on 1 April 2006 as Chief Executive. He has been a member of CFDG before and shares the experience of the CFDG members, as he was Finance Director at Help the Aged for seven years before joining CFDG.

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