Trustees’ Week 2020
During this Trustees’ Week (2 - 6 November), ICAS would like to acknowledge and celebrate the enormous contribution the UK’s over one million charity trustees make to civil society through giving their time and expertise to the nation’s 196,000 charities.
Charities come in all shapes and sizes, from small organisations serving their local communities to large organisations providing public services and UK-based NGOs (non-governmental organisations) operating overseas.
Common to all charities is the role of the trustee board in setting the charity’s strategy and responsibility for governing and managing the charity’s activities, as well as stewarding charitable assets.
Good governance is key to running a successful charity and a new resource from the Chartered Governance Institute has been published recently in the form of a white paper, The virtuous circle of good charity governance.
The trustees of smaller charities are more hands on than in larger charities with paid staff, but for all charities its trustee board (or equivalent) is legally in charge. It is always worth highlighting that the charity sector is volunteer-led as trustees are not remunerated for discharging their legal duties.
At ICAS, we acknowledge that charities face increasing demand for their services during times of crisis when finances are under the greatest pressure. This was the case following the financial crash in 2008 and is the case now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) surveyed its charity contacts in May this year about the impact of COVID-19 and the results were fairly sobering.
OSCR received 5,000 survey responses representing about 20% of OSCR’s Scottish charity contacts. A significant response rate, perhaps illustrating how important it is for charities to share publicly how they are coping.
One in five charities in Scotland indicated that they faced a critical threat to their financial viability at some point in the next 12 months (i.e. up to May 2021). One in five also reported that they would be unable to do what they were set up to do at some point over the same period.
While a charity’s trustees have collective responsibility for the financial management of their charity and for the preparation of its trustees’ annual report and accounts, many ICAS members serve as charity trustees and their expertise is vital in helping charities manage their finances and navigate their way through challenging financial circumstances.
Charities who are looking for an ICAS Member to join their trustee board can advertise for free on icas.com. Charities can submit vacancies on our volunteering opportunities page and we encourage our Members to keep an eye out for interesting opportunities on our website as well.
If you are already a trustee, whether you are an ICAS member or not, the ICAS Charities Panel, has produced a range of information and guidance on accountancy related topics which is publicly available in our dedicated charities resources section on icas.com.
Join our Glasgow & West Area Network free webinar on Charities in challenging times on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 from 9am to 10am.