Do charities need specialist accountants?

8 piles of varying sizes of sterling one pound coins sitting on a graph.

After my article last week about my involvement with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, I got an interesting question from one of my readers…

“Garry, isn’t managing the finances for a business and a charity very different? Is it unusual to deal with both?”

I understand the question, because businesses and charities seem to emerge from different realms: the noble cause of charity and the dynamic world of business.

Picture a charity dedicated to sheltering and empowering homeless youth, in the heart of a bustling city. Led by a passionate team, they strive to make a tangible difference in their community.

Meanwhile, across town, a burgeoning tech start-up navigates the competitive landscape, driven by innovation and ambition.

At first glance, their missions and strategies diverge immensely. Financially, one is focused on generating profit for the owner or shareholders, whilst the other has to fulfil charitable objectives. There are also all kinds of differences between the way the two have to report their income, as they’re subject to different regulations and different regulatory authorities.

But delve deeper, and you’ll find one striking commonality.

Both have an imperative to look after their money in the most professional and efficient way.

In fact, the hurdle is higher for charities, who are there for the public benefit. Their  trustees are accountable for the way their money is spent, and their supporters need to know that they are operating responsibly and ethically.

So from our point of view the differences between the two are mostly technical.

Charities need the exact same robust financial systems and processes as businesses.

The people who run charities tend to be terrific, generous people but many – just like many business owners – do not come from a financial background. They need help understanding their numbers to stop them operating in the dark.

And they tend to need similar help making good decisions about their money.

That’s exactly what we do for the organisations we work with. So it’s not surprising that we actually have a selection of charities on our books. This includes both trading charities that sell a product to make income (like the two railways whose finances we manage), and more traditional charities that fundraise for a good cause.

So if you, too, run a charity, and would like to manage your finances to the very highest standards, please get in touch with me today. We’re not just for businesses! We can work together to maximise your charity’s income, make the best possible financial decisions for your cause – and increase your impact on the world.

Simply hit ‘reply’ to this article or call us on 01279 647 447 to start the journey towards financial excellence.



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