When early warnings fall on deaf ears

Balancing income and expenditure can be a challenge for many organisations with a social purpose, whether they are public sector bodies, not-for-profits or social enterprises. Especially in times like this, when what passes for normal is changing on a daily basis and everyone’s feeling the squeeze. It’s important that such organisations identify potential financial issues early, so that they have time to address them before things hit the fan. But even when early warning signs are evident, they don’t always get acted upon.

Continue reading “When early warnings fall on deaf ears”

It’s time for better budgeting

Budgets are important. They help our organisations to understand what resources they have available. They give us the opportunity to plan what we want to do and how we’ll pay for it. And they allow us to see how we’re doing as the year progresses. But let’s be honest: The annual budgeting process is a monumental pain in the backside. There must be a better way.

Continue reading “It’s time for better budgeting”

Improving financial management in local authorities

CIPFA FM Code GN

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has just published the guidance notes to accompany its new Financial Management Code. The guidance notes will help local authorities to improve further the robustness and resilience of their financial management arrangements. And I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to work with CIPFA to prepare them. Continue reading “Improving financial management in local authorities”

Why going over budget isn’t always your fault

Budgets are important. They allow an organisation to understand where its financial resources are coming from and to prioritise where they will be spent. They also act as an early warning system if things aren’t going according to plan. So overspending against your budget can be a problem. But it isn’t necessarily your fault. And here’s why. Continue reading “Why going over budget isn’t always your fault”

Where next for local government funding?

With each week that passes, it seems that another local authority joins the list of those whose finances have reached crisis point. First it was Northamptonshire County Council that hit the headlines, but top-tier councils in Sussex, Lancashire, Suffolk, Surrey, Torbay and Oxfordshire also seem to be feeling the heat. And Somerset County Council, down the road from me, has just voted through £28 million of cuts over the next two years, leading opposition councillors to describe the council as on the ‘brink of bankruptcy’. Continue reading “Where next for local government funding?”