Midlands Conference 2020

Leadership Tax and VAT Pensions and HR Accounting and reporting Governance, regulation and compliance Fraud Financial sustainability Charity finance policy Risk

Thursday 6 February 2020

Council House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B1 1BB

The largest gathering of charity finance professionals in the Midlands, returns to Birmingham in February 2020.

This one-day conference brings you a jam-packed programme, keeping you up to date with charity finance, policy and regulatory changes, as well as new strategic insights which will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need for strong financial leadership.

There are two streams with sessions covering: Culture and leadership; Financial planning in challenging times; How to manage multiple teams; VAT and tax updates; Managing safeguarding; Cyber security and fraud; Board diversity; Banking and digitalisation, plus two plenary sessions on what's happening in the charity sector and how to build trust through reporting.

Speakers include: Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, CFG; Myton Hospice; John Harrison, Head of Information and Cyber Security, Charles Stanley; Sue King and Joanna Blackman, Wrigleys Solicitors LLP and Martin Cooper from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).

Whether you’re new to the sector or an experienced professional, our aim is for this event to give you a fresh perspective and vital knowledge on what’s happening in charity finance and the wider sector on operational and strategic levels.

The day is a perfect opportunity to network with colleagues from a diverse range of charities from across the sector so you can share your ideas and experiences with other delegates. There will also be an exhibition, giving you the chance to address your organisation’s needs with sector specialists.

Visit the CFG stand at the conference to find out more about our mentoring programme, bringing together sector leaders and those who are looking to progress their career with invaluable help along the way. 

Who should come to this event?

This conference is ideal if you're responsible for financial management in your organisation or want to understand more about the charity finance and regulation landscape. Previous delegates have included Finance Officers, Finance Managers, Finance Directors, Heads of Finance, Directors of Finance and Resources, CEOs, trustees.

Discounts for members

This event is open to CFG members and non-members.

CFG events, training and members’ meetings can count towards your continuous professional development (CPD). Contact your association for further information, or email events@cfg.org.uk

CFG members receive access to early bird and member rate discount. Not a CFG member? You could receive savings on bookings like this by joining CFG. Find out more about becoming a member and how to join our community


John Harrison, Head of Information and Cyber Security, Charles Stanley

Caron Bradshaw, CEO, Charity Finance Group

Neil Poynton, Head of Charities, Charities Aid Foundation

Sue King, Partner, Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Joanna Blackman, Solicitor, Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Martin Cooper, Finance Director, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

Martin has been the Finance Director and Company Secretary of TCV since 2016, having initially joined as Head of Finance. He has also had held interim operational roles with TCV, including overseeing the winding up of a trading subsidiary. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant & Tax Advisor he spent 12 years with a large multinational in several commercial and shared service roles. Working in the sector he has grown to appreciate the need for good charity governance. Martin is married with two young daughters. He is a committed Christian, Trustee of 4 church related charities, a church bellringer, runner and football groundhopper.

Rob Warne, Partner, Head of VAT, Crowe UK LLP

Fleur Holden, Sayer Vincent

Robin Aitken, Consultant

Robin trained as an ACA with Arthur Andersen in the 1980’s. He went on to spend 7 years with the BBC where he helped manage some of its first steps into digital broadcasting. This spurred an interest in innovation which lead him into the world of entrepreneurship, where he has spent most of his time since.

He worked as a full-time FD for 10 years before “going portfolio” in 2007. His experience includes floating a dotcom on AIM and participating in a private equity-backed MBO. His current portfolio of interests includes: Associate non-executive director of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust; Part-time FD and/or consultant to several non-profit and start-up organisations. Robin is also a visiting lecturer in entrepreneurial finance at the University of Bath.

He is increasingly interested in working with the NHS and other organisations with a clear social purpose to improve the performance of their finance functions.

9.00 - 9.55

Registration and refreshments

9.55 - 10.00

Chair's welcome and introduction 

Kerry Shea, Chair, CFG

10.00 - 10.40

Opening plenary: Overview of Charity Finance in 2020

Richard Sagar, Charity Finance Group


Move between sessions

10.45 - 11.30

1A: Financial planning in challenging times

In this session Martin will share the challenging journey TCV has been on over the last few years and key lessons learnt as to how financial planning processes can be more responsive to the organisation’s needs and agile through times of change and uncertainty.

Martin Cooper, Finance Director, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)


10.45 - 11.30

1B: Audit and accounting update

To help keep you technically up to date, Fleur will deliver a comprehensive summary of key regulatory updates in audit, accounting and financial reporting.

Fleur Holden, Sayer Vincent

11.30 - 11.50

Refreshment break

11.50 - 12.40

2A: Working with non-finance professionals

Finance staffs are often responsible for working with, and managing, individuals with many different specialist skills. This session will help you understand how to give these individuals the best support and get the best out of them


11.50 - 12.40

2B: VAT and tax update

The session will give you updates on all the latest VAT cases, on any other recent developments from HMRC, including Gift Aid, Making Tax Digital and employment tax.

Rob Warne, Crowe UK LLP

12.40 - 12.45

Move between sessions

12.45 - 13.15

Lunchtime plenary: What's happening in the charity sector?

This session will give you a snapshot of the charity sector landscape. What are the challenges that charity leaders face and what can it be done to overcome issues? 

Neil Poynton, Head of Charities, Charities Aid Foundation 

13.15 - 14.00


14.00 - 15.00

3A: Developing new income streams and encouraging innovation

Income is a constant challenge for charities, and the current financial climate requires finance leaders to think hard about business models. This interactive session will offer ways to assess the need for new income streams, control risks and manage innovation.

Robin Aitken, Consultant

14.00 - 15.00

3B: Cyber security and fraud

There are many risks associated with digital and finance, particularly the threat of a cyber attack. This session will look at how you can mitigate these risks and ensure that your security is suitable to your needs as well as being cost effective. 

John Harrison, Charles Stanley 

15.00 - 15.20

Refreshment break

15.20 - 16.20

4A: How to engage with the board

This session will give you advice and suggestions on how to build a constructive relationship with the board, and how to make sure that board members provide and receive the right information.

Helen Blundell, Director, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

15.20 - 16.20

4B: Managing safeguarding processes

Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities. For the finance leader, it has major implications for risk, compliance and budgeting. This session explains what you need to do to build the right culture, and to make sure policies and procedures are in place, to make sure your charity’s safeguarding meets staff and beneficiary needs.   

Sue King, Partner, Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Joanna Blackman, Solicitor,  Wrigleys Solicitors LLP


16.20 - 16.25

Move between sessions

16.25 - 17.00

Closing plenary: Culture and leadership, inspiring change for greater impact

Culture and leadership are crucial tools for the success of your charity, and much of that starts in the finance department. This plenary will explain how finance leaders can develop and influence organisational culture, inspire change, and make sure their charity has a great impact.

Caron Bradshaw, Charity Finance Group


Chair's close and conference end 

Charities - Members£139.00
Charities - Non-members£152.00
Corporate - Members£249.00
Corporate - Non-members£329.00
Individual - Members£139.00
Individual - Non-members£152.00
HTN - Members£139.00