Stronger charities through good leadership: An introduction to Trustees’ Week

By Christine Scott, Assistant Director, Charities and Pensions

1 November 2016

Christine Scott reflects on the theme of Trustees’ Week 2016 (7 to 13 November) ‘stronger charities through good leadership’ and the contribution CAs can make.

UK charities come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they have one thing in common – they are governed by volunteers – their charity trustees. Therefore, the success and reputation of the sector, and not just individual charities, very much depends on the leadership given by the UK’s million plus trustees.

Trustees’ Week is an annual event which celebrates trusteeship and gives trustees the opportunity to share their experiences and to take part in events and training courses taking place across the UK. For more information on what’s happening visit the Trustees’ Week website.

Expertise in corporate governance and internal controls, management, and business planning means that CAs are well placed to serve as charity trustees. CAs have a long tradition of supporting the charity sector in both voluntary and professional capacities. Additionally, CAs have the technical knowledge necessary to understand the financial reporting requirements placed on charities. CAs taking on the role of charity trustee should expect to receive a formal induction from the charity but should also ensure that they undertake professional development activities in order to comply with the ICAS requirements for continuing professional development (CPD).

Early this year, the ICAS Charities Committee, published the detailed results of its Charity Horizons survey: a survey of CAs across the UK who work or volunteer for charities or act as advisors. We asked for views on the main challenges charities are facing in both the short and medium-terms. The top challenges identified are financial in nature. However, concerns about maintaining or bringing on board the necessary skills to manage the charity were also highlighted by respondents as significant, this included concern over trustee recruitment. This suggests that there will be no shortage in the demand for the skills of CAs or opportunities for CAs to contribute to this important sector.

The table below illustrates the top three challenges given by respondents to our survey.

 

Charity sector: themes

Advisors: themes

 

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3

Short-term

Financial

Strategic and operational

Skills

Financial

Red tape

Skills

Medium-term

Financial

Strategic and operational

Skills

Financial

Skills

Red tape

If you are a CA interested in volunteering for a charity, as a trustee or in another voluntary role, ICAS promotes vacancies on behalf of charities for free. Also, if you are involved with a charity and seeking a CA to volunteer, details of the role can be submitted online.

Topics

  • Charities

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