Taking from the feedback received on this website (which we hope will grow over time), below is a short Q&A that we hope will help clarify some of your questions. But please do get in touch if you have any unanswered questions.
What are the qualifications of the staff who will deal with my finances?
At present, the Director of the company (Charles Ssempijja) is the only staff. Charles is a chartered accountant (full member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).
Will NfP Accountants send unqualified staff to work on my finances?
In the medium term, Charles will directly deliver all assignments. In the long term, I hope to seek out similar-minded qualified accountants, management accountants and book-keepers with experience in and commitment to the sector. The firm currently has no intention of becoming a training firm.
How is your work regulated for quality assurance?
There’s currently no legal restriction on the use of the term “accountant”, therefore anyone can use this this term whether or not they have any formal qualifications. However, NfP Accountants Ltd is registered as a member firm with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, as a body corporate where:
- 50% or more of the directors are members of the ICAEW; and
- more than 50% of the nominal value of the voting shares is held by members; and
- more than 50% of the of the aggregate in nominal value of the voting and non-voting shares is held by members.
The firm’s work is regulated through the ICAEW’s Practice Assurance Scheme, which is a framework of quality assurance principles for ICAEW members in practice.
Further information about the Practice Assurance Scheme can be obtained here.
What services do you provide?
- Build and enhance systems that integrate financial management with strategic and operational management;
- Demystify technical elements of financial management and accounting so that non-accounting managers can better understand the finances of their organisation;
- Help build strong systems and controls, designed to reduce the burden of financial management, compliance, and donor engagement.
In order to achieve these goals, we will work with management to provide a combination of services, depending on the organisation’s needs, as follows:
- Setting up robust systems for seamless and integrated financial reports (take the pain out of charity books);
- Error-free charity bookkeeping;
- Integrated donor-reports; and
- Tracking your restricted funds, project costs, functional costs, and any other categories required).
Accounting and financial management
- Jargon-free management accounting and information;
- Financial planning, budgeting and forecasting;
- Statutory compliance, including preparing and filing statutory accounts, dealing with HMRC and the auditors);
- Grants and donor management, including donor compliance reviews, grant audits, and meeting with donors.
Assurance and governance
- Independent examinations;
- Internal audits; and
- Risk management and internal controls.
What financial software do you use and how can this be integrated with other databases?
The choice of software used will depend on each client’s needs. For the majority of small charities, standard packages such as QuickBooks or Sage would be sufficient. There are also cases where a simple cash book such as our free cash book for small charities would be enough to help the Trustees and management keep on top of the charity’s finances.
Most small charities do not need an independent donor database or other database that may need to be integrated with a finance system. However we will be very happy to review the charity’s needs if you consider that this may be necessary.
What if we’re not a small charity, can we still benefit from your services?
NfP Accountants is dedicated to the provision of accountancy services for small charities, particularly with income below £1.5m. If your charity is bigger than this, we will be very happy to discuss your needs and refer you to one of our trusted colleagues.
If your organisation is a social enterprise, please get in touch and we will be very happy to discuss your requirements.
Why is NfP Accountants a limited company?
The firm’s vision is to grow into a small firm for small charities. The firm itself will be a co-operative business in which all staff share ownership. Traditional accountancy firms (which are partnerships generally) are normally owned by a few partners with a larger number of salaried employees. In such a setting, decision-making is concentrated with the few partners. NfP Accountants Ltd is a company limited by shares (company number 08217088) with the view that in time, different staff will be able to hold different types of shares, while keeping it small enough to ensure the continued peer support and ‘family feel’.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.