Believing in more than just numbers
When it comes to working with charities, it is important that accountants believe in more than just numbers.
It is fair to say that most people regard the not-for-profit sector as having higher moral standards than most businesses – and rightly so.
The sector often works with the vulnerable, has special tax status and acts as a moral compass for society.
As a result, it is widely felt that society has the moral and legal authority to hold charities to account. This could be by mandating audits of charity accounts, challenging hypocrisy, and expecting charities to reflect the best aspects of moral life.
A good starting point for trustees looking to understand these wider societal obligations would be to look at the Charity Governance Code. This Code is designed as a tool to support continuous improvement. Charity boards that are using this Code effectively will regularly revisit and reflect on the Code’s principles.
Of course, if a Board of Trustees is committed to such governance within its own organisation it seems only reasonable that they should expect the same from their key advisers. The days when it was acceptable to appoint an accountant who does not share wider ethical values are long gone. An excellent adviser will not just be technically proficient but should also be the ‘good guys.’
At Westcotts, we have taken this view and built it into everything we do.
Our business is founded on four core principles of teamwork, respect, exceptional service, and trust – you will find more about our values here – every aspect of our business is measured against these.
As well as this, we take our wider social responsibilities extremely seriously. As a senior partner with the firm, I head up our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. We split this into three areas:
- Diversity, equality, and inclusion
- Environmental social responsibility
- And carbon reduction
A senior team member at Westcotts is then responsible for each of these areas. Working together, we try and make sure that our efforts don’t just benefit our firm but the whole community, whether it’s locally, nationally, or further afield.
We believe that these combined efforts and results make us ideally placed to serve the not-for-profit sector.
If you would like to talk about any aspect of our charity and not-for-profit work or CSR efforts and how they might add value to your own charity or social enterprise, please send me an email or call 01297 33388. Our specialist charities team is also on hand to help.