Concerns Raised About Complacency on Financial Governance in Charities

A report from MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Charity Finance Group based on a survey of over 120 trustees has raised concerns about complacency on financial governance within charities. 57% of respondents said that they understood strategic financial governance matters well or very well, with only 12% saying that they had a poor or inadequate understanding. […]

A report from MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Charity Finance Group based on a survey of over 120 trustees has raised concerns about complacency on financial governance within charities.

57% of respondents said that they understood strategic financial governance matters well or very well, with only 12% saying that they had a poor or inadequate understanding. This is very positive and indicates that boards are taking financial matters seriously.

Yet 84% of respondents said that it would be beneficial for their charity to have a better understanding of strategic financial governance matters.

This could be linked to the fact that only 16% of respondents always assessed board competency for charity finance skills, with 28% assessing skills sometimes and 30% occasionally. This was compounded by the fact that 47% of respondents never or only occasionally assessed the effectiveness of their financial governance.

Other interesting findings were:

  • Only 22% of charities indicated that they always made available charity finance training for trustees that needed it.
  • Less than one in five respondents considered that they had the complete skills and knowledge required to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • 49% of respondents said that they had used the latest Charity Commission guidance on charity finance.

Commenting on the findings of this report, Sudhir Singh, Partner and Head of Not for Profit, MHA MacIntyre Hudson said: “Strong financial governance is a major contributor to successful and effective charities, so whilst we don’t want to be overly critical of the good intentions of most trustees and charities, it is difficult to escape the very clear conclusion that many people just need to do better.

Andrew O’Brien, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group said: “This report is an important wake up call for the charity trustees and executive teams. Every charity should be regularly assessing its skills and understanding at board level to ensure that it has the ability to govern itself financially. There are lots of resources out there, but charities need to make a commitment to using them Complacency is simply not an option.”

(Source: MHA MacIntyre Hudson)

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