Announcing CFDG Software Initiative

17th February 2006

In partnership with the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales) and CITRA (The Charity IT Resource Alliance), CFDG (Charity Finance Directors Group) has launched a new initiative to look at identifying reliable, functional, easy to use and cost effective financial software and services suitable for charities with up to £2m turnover.

The joint grouping recognises that many smaller charities struggle to find affordable software that deals with the complexities of charity accounting.

Launching this new initiative at the ICAEW's Charity & Voluntary Sector Group's recent conference, Chairman Peter Gotham, said:

"Many smaller charities have real problems in getting software to deal with the complexities of their accounting. I am very pleased that our group is working with CFDG and CITRA to try and address this issue. It is apparent from the fact that our members have asked us to convene a second conference in 3 months, and that over 200 people are here, that our membership is very keen to increase its engagement with the sector. We will be asking our membership to contribute to this work - and hope that between us we can make a significant impact on this problem.

Charities need to satisfy very specific addition legal requirements, compliance with which is regulated by the Charity Commission, and often also requirements of funders that go well beyond the expectations normally imposed on commercial partners. These requirements can be imposed at a very low level of income."

David Membrey, acting Chief Executive of CFDG, said:
"Many CFDG members from smaller to medium-sized charities have, over time, expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of functionality provided by the accounting software available to them. These charities usually cannot afford to implement the mid to top end range of accounts packages, which can be more readily configured to meet charity accounting requirements. Instead smaller charities have to make do with less flexible software even though they often face the same level of complexity, in their accounting and reporting requirements, as larger charities. CFDG is currently involved in several initiatives to attempt to address this problem and is delighted to be able to collaborate with the ICAEW and CITRA on this issue."

Liz Whiting, Head of Finance and Resources at Ockenden International, comments.
"'We have a number of overseas offices that need an easy to use, yet functional product. I have researched this area and struggle to find a solution that fits our local needs. I hope this group will allow the sector to understand the issues and encourage suppliers to deliver solutions that more closely meet our needs."

The project will start with a review of the options and a forum will be created on the CITRA web site for charities to discuss the issues they have in this area.

The group will be chaired by Liz Whiting, Head of Finance and Resources at Ockenden International and includes David Membrey, acting Chief Executive of CFDG, Peter Gotham partner at Gotham Erskine and chair of the ICAEW Charity and Voluntary Sector Group, Uday Thakkar Chief Finance Officer of Red Ochre, Ian Gilmour Chief Executive of OK2B and John Tate, Chair of CITRA.

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