Charities are preparing to weather the economic downturn

1st December 2008

The Charity Finance Directors' Group is pleased to announce a brand new training course, ‘Understanding the Voluntary Sector.’ The course is a must for anyone who is new to the voluntary sector, and in particular finance professionals and treasurers who have recently made the move from the private or public sectors. The course will focus on the environment in which charities operate and the sector-specific governance, management and finance issues.

The courses will be held in London on 28th January and 9th July, Birmingham on 18th March and in Bristol in 22nd October. They will be run by two leading advisors to the sector, Moira Protani, head of the charities team at law firm Wilsons, and Kate Sayer from Sayer Vincent, consultants and auditors to the sector.

Kate Sayer says, “Finance directors and other finance professionals moving into the charity sector are often surprised to find that charity finance is much more complex than in private sector companies. With many stakeholders and often multiple objectives, delivering an effective finance function is a challenge. This course aims to provide a good induction for those new to charities.”

Moira Protani says, "For those not familiar with charity law there are a considerable number of live issues, which it is important to be aware of, and one or two pitfalls. With the roll out of the Charities Act 2006 there is a new public benefit test, and a whole host of law and practice on subjects as diverse as trustee remuneration and more regulation of commercial participators. The course will provide a broad understanding of charity law, governance and good practise for those new to the sector. It will also demonstrate how to avoid the pitfalls and where it is important to seek expert advice."

 

The course will cover:

the role of the Charity Commission and how charities are regulated
what sort of organisations can get charitable status
how governance structures work and the role of trustees in a charity
stewardship of charity funds and the fiduciary duties of trustees
the implications of fund accounting for the management and operation of the charity
investment policies and issues for charities
the reporting requirements in charity accounts
the tax regime as it applies to charities

There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss issues that you may be facing with leading experts in this field, and a case study will be used throughout the day to illustrate discussions. A guest speaker will provide an opportunity to hear more about what it is like to work in a charity. Reference material will be provided, and a list of useful websites and guidance so that you know where to find out more.

CFDG’s Chief Executive, Keith Hickey said “CFDG has long recognised the importance of supporting those new to the voluntary sector, and we see this new course as an effective way of bridging the knowledge gap and giving people a sound foundation to work from”.

- Ends -
Notes to Editor:

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 1,560 plus members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £14.7 billion in charity income per year.

Sayer Vincent (www.sayervincent.co.uk) is a specialist firm of consultants and auditors for the charity sector. With five partners and over 30 professional staff we are one of the largest teams of charity specialists. As well as external audit and internal audit, we work with charities to implement their strategies, get more out of IT and help to handle mergers and other major change.

Wilsons (www.wilsonslaw.com) is ranked as one of the leading charity law firms in the UK and acts for over 400 of the nation's leading charities. The firm's clients include Cancer Research UK, the RNLI, the RSPCA, and Guide Dogs for the Blind. The core team of 11 specialist charity lawyers advises on all aspects of a charity's legal needs, to include all constitutional and governance related matters and those relating to legacies (both contentious and non-contentious), commercial, employment and property issues.

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