December Finance Network Meeting – Book your place!

Book your place at the next Finance Network Meeting on December 15th from 11:00 – 12:30. This session will focus on “Charity Legal Structures”.

The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on December 15th from 11:00 – 12:30 and the key session will be “Charity Legal Structures”. The presenter will be Nick Vaughan, of Paris Smith LLP who has been a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust since early 2020. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. Read on to find out all about the meeting, along with a save the date for January’s meeting.

Over the past 18 months, the Financial Governance Team have discussed charity legal structures with several local Age UKs, following a number of questions raised by partners. So, whether you are looking at changing your business model or want to sense-check that your governance structures are appropriate and fit for purpose as we move towards the next financial year, this will be a very useful session to attend.

The following topic areas will be included:

  • Use of Subsidiary Companies for non-primary purpose trading, and consideration of their use for primary purpose trading also
  • Risk considerations – the avoidance of risk to charity assets
  • Independent governance (not all the charity trustees are directors of the subsidiary, and vice versa)
  • Financing aspects – start-up funding; working capital; investment / loans (from the parent charity)
  • Shared premises / staff / facilities – cross-charging / management charges
  • Use of charity logo by subsidiary companies

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. Read on to find out all about the meeting.

January Finance Network Meeting – Save the Date

With lots of staff set to take leave over the next few weeks, we wanted to flag that the January Finance Network meeting will take place on 19th January 2022 from 11:00 – 12:30. Nick Wilkie, former charity chief executive, government policy adviser and visiting lecturer at The Centre for Charity Effectiveness, will present on the primary topic: Big Plans, Strategy and Business Models.

Nick will share his personal perspectives on leading and landing strategy. Sharing experience not expertise, failure more than triumph, he will reflect broadly across the subject including:

  • making sure everyone in the organisation knows where true north is;
  • knowing who the beneficiaries really are;
  • ensuring all decision-makers properly understand the balance sheet and business model;
  • why things go wrong and how they might get fixed.

This session is primarily aimed at CEOs, although FDs and trustees will be more than welcome, as ever.

Please save the date in your diaries now, as this promises to be a great session.

November Finance Network Meeting – One week to go!

A reminder to book your place at the next Finance Network Meeting on November 24th 11:00 – 12:30. This session will focus on “Making Difficult Decisions”.

A quick reminder that the next Finance Network Meeting will take place next week Wednesday November 24th from 11:00 – 12:30 and the key session will be “Making Difficult Decisions”. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. Read on to find out all about the meeting.

David Brown, a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust and formerly Chief Executive of a Royal Charter professional membership institution and Deputy chairman, Advantage West Midlands (RDA), will be exploring the options for SMTs and trustees to consider when faced with a significant deficit budget forecast.

He will begin by reminding us of decision-making ‘rules’ – what we ‘must’, and ‘should’ consider, and what we should ignore. He’ll warn against making hasty decisions which may not be the best decisions, and present a number of factors which demand careful attention.

The content will be relevant for trustees just as much (if not more so) as for senior Partner staff from across the local partner network. So please share this information with colleagues in your organisation who you feel would be interested in attending and encourage them to do so.

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

Please note: we will not be covering any other topics on the day so we can ensure the meeting finishes on time if not before. We want to ensure colleagues who are planning to attend the AEA ‘Open Meeting’, which commences at 1pm, have the opportunity for a break before doing so.

November Finance Network Meeting – Book your place!

Book your place at the next Finance Network Meeting on November 24th 11:00 – 12:30. This session will focus on “Making Difficult Decisions”.

The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on November 24th from 11:00 – 12:30 and the key session will be “Making Difficult Decisions”. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. Read on to find out all about the meeting.

David Brown, a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust and formerly Chief Executive of a Royal Charter professional membership institution and Deputy chairman, Advantage West Midlands (RDA), will be exploring the options for SMTs and trustees to consider when faced with a significant deficit budget forecast.

He will begin by reminding us of decision-making ‘rules’ – what we ‘must’, and ‘should’ consider, and what we should ignore. He’ll warn against making hasty decisions which may not be the best decisions, and present a number of factors which demand careful attention.

The content will be relevant for trustees just as much (if not more so) as for senior Partner staff from across the local partner network. So please share this information with colleagues in your organisation who you feel would be interested in attending and encourage them to do so.

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

Please note: we will not be covering any other topics on the day so we can ensure the meeting finishes on time if not before. We want to ensure colleagues who are planning to attend the AEA ‘Open Meeting’, which commences at 1pm, have the opportunity for a break before doing so.

November Finance Network Meeting – Save the date

Please save the date for the next Finance Network Meeting on 24th November from 11:00 – 12:30. The topic of this meeting will be “Making Difficult Decisions”.

The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on 24th November from 11:00 – 12:30, and the subject will be ‘Making Difficult Decisions’. Please save the date of this meeting in your calendars and we will send round registration details in the next couple of weeks. You can find out full details of the meeting, including content and presenters, below.

David Brown will be exploring the options for SMTs and trustees to consider when faced with a significant deficit budget forecast which, if forecasts for 2022-23 already provided to us by Partners are correct, is likely to be the case for most of the network. David is a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust, former Chief Executive of a Royal Charter professional membership institution, and Deputy chairman of Advantage West Midlands (RDA).

He will begin by reminding us of decision-making ‘rules’ – what we ‘must’, and ‘should’ consider, and what we should ignore. He’ll warn against making hasty decisions which may not be the best decisions, and present a number of factors which demand careful attention.

The content will be relevant for trustees just as much (if not more so) as for senior Partner staff, so we hope a good number of trustees will be able to join the event. Watch out for registration details in the next couple of weeks.

October Finance Network Meeting – Places still available!

Book your place at the October Finance Network Meeting on Wednesday 20th October! Find out all about the meeting and the guest speakers here.


It’s now less than a week until the next Finance Network Meeting on October 20th from 11:00 – 12:30! The primary topic will be “Business Cases”. Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but very important document. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk or david.chenery@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting and both presenters below.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative, but the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority?

Helen Blundell Biography

Helen leads the not for profit team in the Birmingham and Leicester offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a Top 12 firm of chartered accountants and business advisors.  She has more than 20 years’ experience specialising in the sector advising a range of clients from small local bodies to large national and regional organisations. 

Her experience includes audit, independent examination, governance training as well advising on corporate structures and charity tax reliefs. Helen’s approach is a practical one of delivering solutions. Helen has first hand experience as a trustee, having served for 6 years as a trustee of Birmingham Cathedral.  She is passionate about making a difference through advising charities and not for profits.

Jim Clifford Biography

Jim leads Sonnet, a social enterprise, registered as a firm of chartered accountants, that brings together experts in finance, governance, corporate finance, economics and research.

Jim is a Chartered Accountant, social researcher and strategic consultant, specialising in helping organisations – charities and social enterprises, private and public sector – research and select the impact they want to deliver, develop the model for doing it, resource it, and measure and improve upon it.

He supports these at all stages of their lives, from inception through growth, through times of change and even insolvency.  He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to Social Investment. Experienced as a trustee and in charity management, he also teaches on the Bayes (formerly Cass) Charities and NGO Masters programmes, and has authored academic work, and the recent Demystifying Social Finance, as well as over 150 impact evaluation studies. 

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

October Finance Network Meeting – Book your place

Book your place at the October Finance Network Meeting on Wednesday 20th October! Find out all about the meeting and the guest speakers here.


The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on October 20th from 11:00 – 12:30 and the primary topic will be “Business Cases”. Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but very important document. To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting and both presenters below.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative, but the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority?

Helen Blundell Biography

Helen leads the not for profit team in the Birmingham and Leicester offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a Top 12 firm of chartered accountants and business advisors.  She has more than 20 years’ experience specialising in the sector advising a range of clients from small local bodies to large national and regional organisations. 

Her experience includes audit, independent examination, governance training as well advising on corporate structures and charity tax reliefs. Helen’s approach is a practical one of delivering solutions. Helen has first hand experience as a trustee, having served for 6 years as a trustee of Birmingham Cathedral.  She is passionate about making a difference through advising charities and not for profits.

Jim Clifford Biography

Jim leads Sonnet, a social enterprise, registered as a firm of chartered accountants, that brings together experts in finance, governance, corporate finance, economics and research.

Jim is a Chartered Accountant, social researcher and strategic consultant, specialising in helping organisations – charities and social enterprises, private and public sector – research and select the impact they want to deliver, develop the model for doing it, resource it, and measure and improve upon it.

He supports these at all stages of their lives, from inception through growth, through times of change and even insolvency.  He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to Social Investment. Experienced as a trustee and in charity management, he also teaches on the Bayes (formerly Cass) Charities and NGO Masters programmes, and has authored academic work, and the recent Demystifying Social Finance, as well as over 150 impact evaluation studies. 

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

Finance Network Meetings – Programme into the Winter 2021-22

David Chenery from Age UK’s Financial Governance Team has published their planned schedule for the next four Financial Network Meetings, so that you can save the dates in advance.

Since January 2021, the Financial Governance team has been arranging virtual monthly Finance Network meetings for key people within Brand Partners – CEOs and members of their Senior Management Teams; Chairs, Treasurers and other interested trustees. Attendance has exceeded our initial expectations – we’ve consistently had over 100 attendees register for these meetings – and feedback has been extremely positive. It would appear that these meetings are addressing a need for information, help and guidance, from across the entire network. Read on to view the schedule for the upcoming Finance Network Meetings across the next few months.

So far, we have covered Cashflow Forecasting and budgeting, Reserves management, Full Cost Recovery, revised Audit requirements (Going Concern assessments) and VAT, along with some more generalised discussions about Building Back Better from the ravages of the pandemic.

When it came to planning for the coming months (October through to January), we wanted to really hone in on the issues which are likely to be of help to the majority of Partners who, we anticipate, will be developing plans for 2022-23 and beyond, and also thinking about changes to their business models – perhaps introducing new services, or scaling up existing ones to meet increasing demand. I’m confident that what we’ve put together will be of interest to all.

October 20th – “Business Cases”

The subject will be ‘Business Cases’, when Helen Blundell and Jim Clifford, both from MHA McIntyre Hudson, will discuss the ‘What, Why, When, How, and for Whom’ of this simple but important document.

We tend to associate Business Cases with the purchase of a significant capital item, or the development of a substantial new initiative. However, the need to produce a reasoned explanation to support the commitment of resources (people, time and money) to any proposed activity is nothing more than best practice and good governance. So, when you plan to tender for a new service delivery contract, or to launch a new charged-for service, how do you justify sign-off if that is within your level of authority, or support a recommendation to the trustee board for approval, if it’s outside of your delegated authority? Helen and Jim will look at trustees’ responsibilities here, as well as the decision-making which needs to happen, and the information which should be considered and presented.

November 24th – “Making Difficult Decisions”

David Brown, a volunteer consultant with Cranfield Trust, will present on ‘Making Difficult Decisions’ and I’m really excited by this one! He’ll be exploring the options for SMTs and trustees to consider when faced with a significant deficit budget forecast which, if forecasts for 2022-23 already provided to us by Partners are correct, is likely to be the case for most of the network. As an aside, we’re forecasting a network-wide surplus of around £14m for 2020-21, but the current year (2021-22) could see an adverse swing of £24m to a network deficit of £10m, with 2022-23 not likely to fare any better at the moment.

Many people see just three possible options for a deficit budget: 1) add more income to the forecast – usually a Fundraising line; 2) cut costs – usually staff costs, given that they are the major proportion of the outgoings for a Partner; or 3), do nothing, in the hope that something will turn up – the Micawber approach. David will suggest that there are other ways of addressing this issue and I think we’ll be in for a very interesting session.

December 15th – “Charity Legal Structures”

Nick Vaughan, another Cranfield consultant, will talk about Charity Legal Structures which sounds a bit dry, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of legal and good governance issues surrounding the use of subsidiary trading companies to deliver services / activities.  Issues like non-primary purpose trading, and consideration of a subsidiary’s use for primary purpose trading as well; Risk considerations – the avoidance of risk to charity assets; Independent governance (not all the charity trustees are directors of the subsidiary, and vice versa); Financing aspects – start-up funding; working capital; investment / loans (from the parent charity); Shared premises / staff / facilities – cross-charging / management charges.

If Partners are thinking about a changed business model, this could be a very timely session.

January 19th 2022 – “Guidance for CEOs”

In January, we’ll be giving the focus of attention to CEOs rather than to Finance personnel. Nick Wilkie, our presenter, has an impressive CV.  He has been chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust and London Youth, and UK director at Save the Children. He has also served on the boards of a number of charitable and public institutions and as a policy advisor to the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and Number 10.

He will be talking around the following points to which every CEO ought to be alive:

  • Making sure everyone in the organisation (or at least in the SMT) knows where true north is, for the organisation
  • Knowing who the beneficiaries really are
  • Reserves – understanding what they are there for
  • In cutting out cost, do you want to salami-slice or cut off a limb?
  • Really understanding the Balance Sheet.

Again, I anticipate a well-subscribed meeting for January!

So I hope that there will be something here for everyone – CEOs, FDs, Chairs and Treasurers, and other trustees. Please note the dates in your diaries and watch out for further details and registration details for each meeting as we progress into the winter.

David Chenery – david.chenery@ageuk.org.uk
National Manager – Financial Governance, Age UK

September Finance Network Meeting – Places still available

There are places still available at the next September Finance Network Meeting September 22nd from 11:00-12:30.


Places are still available for the next Finance Network Meeting on September 22nd from 11:00 – 12:30. The primary topic will be “SORP – what are the current requirements which all charities should be meeting?“. Unfortunately we are unable to use Eventbrite for this meeting, so to book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting below.

This latest Finance Network Meeting will include a reminder of the recent changes to the Going Concern assessment (ISA 570) and also a short explanation of the main differences between Charity accounting and ‘For Profit’ accounting as practised in the commercial world.

Some of you may remember that Richard Bowen, from Crowe, presented on this subject at a Finance Network meeting back in July 2019, when he covered Accounts preparation and Trustees’ annual reports preparation (That was when we were meeting in London, in a face-to-face setting which seems a lifetime ago now!). We received very positive feedback following Richard’s presentation and given the much-changed environment in which we must now report, felt that an update, to take in a reminder about changes to the Going Concern assessment, would be helpful. We also recognise that there have been quite a few new CEOs, Finance Directors and Managers, and Trustees, joining local Age UKs in the intervening period.

Presentation from Naziar Hashemi

This meeting, which will again be open to all relevant management and staff in Local Age UKs, and trustees, will be presented by Naziar Hashemi, Partner, National Head of Social Purpose & Non Profit Organisations, Crowe LLP.

Naziar joined Crowe in September 2008 from a Big Four Firm as a specialist non profits partner. In addition to providing assurance services Naziar also provides advisory services to a range of charities. These include assignments from risk and finance function reviews, systems, benchmarking and performance measurements and governance reviews.

Naziar leads Crowe’s work on Donor Audits and has knowledge of institutional funding requirements having produced reports for a variety of institutional and governmental donors. She also carries out training for charities and lectures and writes on a range of topics relevant to Trustees and management.

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with your name and role title, the name of the Brand Partner you are representing and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

September Finance Network Meeting – Book your place

The September Finance Network Meeting will take place on September 22nd from 11:00-12:30. Read on to find out more and please save the date in your diaries!


The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on September 22nd from 11:00 – 12:30 and the primary topic will be “SORP – what are the current requirements which all charities should be meeting?“. Unfortunately we are unable to use Eventbrite for this meeting, so to book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with: your name and role title; the name of the Brand Partner you are representing; and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent. You can also find out more about the meeting below.

This latest Finance Network Meeting will include a reminder of the recent changes to the Going Concern assessment (ISA 570) and also a short explanation of the main differences between Charity accounting and ‘For Profit’ accounting as practised in the commercial world.

Some of you may remember that Richard Bowen, from Crowe, presented on this subject at a Finance Network meeting back in July 2019, when he covered Accounts preparation and Trustees’ annual reports preparation (That was when we were meeting in London, in a face-to-face setting which seems a lifetime ago now!). We received very positive feedback following Richard’s presentation and given the much-changed environment in which we must now report, felt that an update, to take in a reminder about changes to the Going Concern assessment, would be helpful. We also recognise that there have been quite a few new CEOs, Finance Directors and Managers, and Trustees, joining local Age UKs in the intervening period.

Presentation from Naziar Hashemi

This meeting, which will again be open to all relevant management and staff in Local Age UKs, and trustees, will be presented by Naziar Hashemi, Partner, National Head of Social Purpose & Non Profit Organisations, Crowe LLP.

Naziar joined Crowe in September 2008 from a Big Four Firm as a specialist non profits partner. In addition to providing assurance services Naziar also provides advisory services to a range of charities. These include assignments from risk and finance function reviews, systems, benchmarking and performance measurements and governance reviews.

Naziar leads Crowe’s work on Donor Audits and has knowledge of institutional funding requirements having produced reports for a variety of institutional and governmental donors. She also carries out training for charities and lectures and writes on a range of topics relevant to Trustees and management.

Book your place

To book your place, and / or to subsequently receive a copy of the recording of the event and the slides, please email David.Chenery@ageuk.org.uk or John.Fox@ageuk.org.uk with your name and role title, the name of the Brand Partner you are representing and the email address to which the follow-up material should be sent.

September Finance Network Meeting – Save the date

The September Finance Network Meeting will take place on September 22nd from 11:00-12:30. Read on to find out more and please save the date in your diaries!


The next Finance Network Meeting will take place on September 22nd from 11:00 – 12:30 and the primary topic will be “SORP – what are the current requirements which all charities should be meeting?“. The meeting will also include a reminder of the recent changes to the Going Concern assessment (ISA 570) and also a short explanation of the main differences between Charity accounting and ‘For Profit’ accounting as practised in the commercial world. Read on to find out more and please save the date in your diaries – registration details will be published nearer the time.

Some of you may remember that Richard Bowen, from Crowe, presented on this subject at a Finance Network meeting back in July 2019, when he covered Accounts preparation and Trustees’ annual reports preparation (That was when we were meeting in London, in a face-to-face setting which seems a lifetime ago now!). We received very positive feedback following Richard’s presentation and given the much-changed environment in which we must now report, felt that an update, to take in a reminder about changes to the Going Concern assessment, would be helpful. We also recognise that there have been quite a few new CEOs, Finance Directors and Managers, and Trustees, joining local Age UKs in the intervening period.

The session, which will again be open to all relevant management and staff in Local Age UKs, and trustees, will be presented by Naziar Hashemi, Partner, National Head of Social Purpose & Non Profit Organisations, Crowe LLP.

Please reserve the date and time in your diaries – 11:00 until 12:30 on Wednesday, 22nd September. Registration details will be published nearer the time.