Charities play an important role in building our civil society. Mazars’ understanding of the sector helps charities make an impact for their beneficiaries and wider society.

Since 2005, Ipsos MORI has carried out five surveys for the Charity Commission into public trust and confidence in charities. The 2014 survey found that 80% of people feel that charities provide something unique to society and nearly 75% believe that charities are effective at bringing about social change.

However, these are challenging times for charities and those they work with, given the economic climate of austerity. Charity income is under pressure, especially for mid-sized charities. Public sector funders are facing cuts in their income. Many are responding by commissioning from charities only those public services which they have a legal duty to provide. At the same time, demand is rising for charity services, dealing with issues such as debt and housing problems, unemployment, and mental and physical health matters.

Mazars understands the pressures you face as trustees and staff of charities. Our services can help your charity to be effective and sustainable through good governance, transparency, probity and accountability.

Our services

Mazars is highly experienced in providing timely, tailored advice. Our team provides a wide range of services to meet the individual needs of every charity, including:

  • Audit and accounting expertise - including effective statutory audits, tax and VAT planning, due diligence and regulatory compliance
  • Tax planning and advice - tax is a complex area and charities can be caught out, owing unnecessary corporation tax or VAT. For example, although charities are generally tax exempt, there may be tax implications when transactions or activities fall outside their charitable objects or the audit trail of grants made to overseas bodies is not adequate
  • Management advice - on issues such as sound governance, risk management, internal control, viable business plans, integrated IT systems, diversification of income streams and best practice in management
  • Mergers - we are currently seeing more mergers, some strategic and some operational. We are also seeing more examples of collaborative working between charities
  • Impact reporting - funders increasingly want to fund outcomes that make differences in people’s lives, rather than simply pay for charity programmes. Our work in this area has given us a valuable insight into this emerging science
  • Investment Services - we help charities to plan, manage and benchmark their investment management approach to help make sure it achieves acceptable risk adjusted returns, and meets ethical investment objectives and investment principles.

Our experience

Mazars has been working with charities since the firm was founded over 100 years ago. We are recognised as one of the UK’s leading charity specialists and thinkers.

Our charity practice is led by our dedicated Charity Sector Group which co-ordinates all our services to charities across the firm. We have many specialists with a proven track record in:

  • Community – Care and nursing homes, grant-makers, hospices, care for the vulnerable and activities for young people
  • Religion – Mazars acts for a number of the Diocesan Boards of Finance of the Church of England and many other faith based organisations, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and Quaker
  • Poverty relief – international microfinance programmes, military charities, regenerational trusts and sheltered accommodation
  • Advancement of education – international student programmes, research, schools and academies, higher and further education.

Working in the sector

Mazars works closely with the charitable community. We are members of organisations such as the Church of England Diocesan Accounting Group, the Charity Finance Group, the Charity Law Association and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

Our extensive involvement in the sector allows us to provide feedback tailored to our clients on current concerns. We deliver free seminars for our clients every six months to consider these issues.

In 2014, we supported The Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Rt Hon Fiona Woolf with her Lord Mayor’s Charity Leadership Programme.

Mazars – the right choice for charities

In his outgoing speech as Chief Executive of the Charity Commission in 2014, Sam Younger asked whether there are too many charities, competing for limited funds, incurring unnecessarily high levels of fundraising and administration costs and, in some cases, failing to make the impact which they should. The public commonly believe that charities spend more on fundraising and administration than they actually do. However, these are concerns which charities need to address.  

The new accounting framework Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102 applies equally to commercial companies and charities. The new FRS 102-compliant Charity SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice - Accounting and Reporting by Charities) was published in July 2014. We are working closely with our clients to implement the new standards. This is an opportunity for charities to be transparent on why they exist, how they spend their money and the impact which they make to individual lives and to society as a whole.

For our insights into the charity sector, view our publications, come to our events or contact one of our charity specialists.

Financial outsourcing for charities

Many charities already outsource some of their day-to-day functions to enable them to maximise their social impact. Increasingly, charity Trustees and managers are examining the practicalities and benefits of outsourcing elements of their finance function, often as part of a wider review of the efficiency and effectiveness of support functions within their organisations.