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ICAEW event

Virtual Charity Conference

21-22 January 2021

ICAEW's popular annual Charity Conference returned in 2021 to share with finance professionals the knowledge to thrive in challenging times with vital accounting, governance and taxation updates affecting the charity sector.

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ICAEW's Virtual Charity Conference 2021 will take place on 21 and 22 January.


Carefully chosen sector experts provided the Charity and Voluntary Sector with compelling content, relevant insights and key technical updates through a mix of live and on-demand sessions.

Charity Commission insights

Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, provided the keynote on the future of the charity sector and lessons from the Charity Commission’s inquiry work.


CPD updates

Vital technical updates on charity accounting, taxation and governance were given by expert speakers, including: Don Bawtree, Charity Senior Adviser, BDO UK LLP, and Graham Elliott, Director, City and Cambridge Consulting.


Solutions driven journalism

Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, former BBC & ITN newscaster, shared the remarkable evidence of how “Solutions driven” Journalism is gathering momentum.


Purpose and impact in reporting

Impact reporting and the use of digital was explored, as well as wider reporting trends and future developments in charity reporting.


#IFR4NPO Project

Insights were given into developing International Financial Reporting guidance For Non-Profit Organisations.

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The programme

21 January

Welcome and introduction
Conference chair Joanna Pittman opens ICAEW's Virtual Charity Conference 2021.
Keynote: Looking ahead
Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, will talk about the future of the charity sector, including the challenges facing the sector and what can charities can do to meet these challenges. The session will also cover insights into and lessons from the Charity Commission’s inquiry operational work.
Refreshment break
Investing in an era of COVID-19 and political change
Ruffer’s Ajay Johal, Charity Investments Manager, and Fiona Ker, Senior Investment Associate, will discuss the investment outlook and how recent global events might further impact markets. This forward-looking session will consider asset allocation and talk through key themes and investments which will help ensure you are well positioned for the future.
Accounting update
Don Bawtree, Charity Senior Adviser, BDO UK LLP, provides a round up of recent developments, especially relevant to the current year-end reporting season. Topics will include: new legal requirements for the annual report, charity SORP information sheets and COVID related transactions and concessions.
Lunch break
Purpose and impact in reporting by charities
The Trustees’ Annual Report is an important publication in a charity’s suite of communications with its stakeholders. Dan Chan, Director at PwC, will explore key principles for good practice charity reporting from PwC’s Reporting in Charities Award, in particular those which can be applied proportionately to a charity’s size and resources.
#IFR4NPO Project
Developing international financial reporting guidance for non-profit organisations. Pesh Framjee, Partner, Global Head of Not For Profit at Crowe.
Panel discussion: The future of charity accounting
Chaired by Kristina Kopic, ICAEW's Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector. The panel includes: Nigel Davies, Joint Chair of Charities SORP Committee and Assistant Director of Accountancy Services at the Charity Commission; Pesh Framjee, FCA, Partner and Global Head of Not For Profit at Crowe; and Neal Trup, a Member of the Charities SORP Committee and Director of Neal Howard.
Development of the Charities SORP
Ahead of the live panel discussion on The Future of Charity Accounting on 21 January, you can get an introduction to the Charities SORP and its ongoing development from this pre-recorded presentation by Nigel Davies, Joint Chair, Charities SORP Committee.
On demand
Cyber crime
National Cyber Security Council
On demand
The future of charities
This session from partner Charles Stanley Wealth Managers explores the future of charities by looking at their financial resilience through challenging times and explore how they can incorporate a commitment to responsible investing into their investment strategy.
On demand

22 January

Welcome and introduction
Joanna Pittman returns to open the second day of the conference.
Keynote: The challenge of impact
In the face of climate change and increasing inequality, we want to have an impact but can struggle. It can feel like there is much choice in measuring impact, or that it takes too long, is too expensive or isn’t useful. Jeremy Nicholls, Director of Social Value International, asks why this has happened and what we can learn from financial reporting.
Refreshment break
Going concern – charity and auditor perspectives
Many may charities face financial difficulties in 2021, while auditors are required to be more rigorous in their examination of going concern matters due to ISA570. In this session, Sudhir Singh, Head of Not for Profit at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, examines if there be a large number of qualified or modified audit opinions and what can be done now to avoid that situation.
Latest developments in VAT and direct tax
The VAT landscape has seen considerable change in 2020, Graham Elliott, Director, City and Cambridge Consulting will be reviewing the revised treatment of various communications supplies, such as literature and advertising, and the changes that arose as a direct result of COVID. COVID-related VAT and gift aid reliefs will also feature.
Achieving responsible income and growth with a global approach
The turbulent markets of 2020 have left investors nervous. In particular, charity investors are concerned about the likely effects on their investment income, which for many is needed more than ever, and how to capitalise on potential growth opportunities. EdenTree’s Ketan Patel will consider how, by investing in a responsible and sustainable way, charities can achieve income and growth. He will also provide a market outlook for 2021.
Lunch break
Building innovation into a small charity’s DNA
Hannah Keartland, Honorary Treasurer at Social Tech Trust, shares her experience of how a small charity with a dedicated set of staff and trustees can successfully transform its governance, business model and operating model to adapt to new circumstances. Find out how charities can become more effective by being entrepreneurial.
Financial sustainability and the role of the board
Trustees need to ensure a charity remains solvent and understanding the financial health, financial position, resources and income sources all contribute towards financial oversight. Helena Wilkinson, Partner and Head of Charities and NFP at Price Bailey, explores the ways that Boards can ensure they have the right information to deliver on financial sustainability and their decision-making processes.
Keynote: Constructive journalism
It’s 25 years since Sir Martyn Lewis CBE stirred up a hornets nest with his controversial speech about the need for a better balance between negative and positive news coverage. Now the former newscaster brings together the evidence of how “solutions-driven” journalism is gaining momentum and highlights the opportunities for the voluntary sector.
Review of Charity Governance Code
The Charity Governance Code has been widely acknowledged as a valuable tool for trustees to promote better governance practice. Consultant Sally Knight reflects on the key principles in the code, drawing on her practical experience of the areas which often cause the liveliest debate and challenge. Sally will also highlight the key changes to the refreshed edition of the code, published in December 2020.
On demand


The event is a good mix of the technical and the practical and a good opportunity to meet fellow professionals who are engaged in the sector. I strongly recommend it.

Previous attendee ICAEW's Charity Conference 2019

Excellent in helping us to keep up with important developments in areas which we don't encounter on a daily basis.

Previous attendee ICAEW's Charity Conference 2019

An excellent "all in one" event.

Previous attendee ICAEW's Charity Conference 2019

Who'd have thought you could enjoy an accounting conference so much. A fascinating day. Thank you.

Previous attendee ICAEW's Charity Conference 2019

Lots of info all under one roof, excellent course.

Previous attendee ICAEW's Charity Conference 2019

Our partners

Find out more about headline sponsor Ruffer and the other ICAEW commercial partners supporting this event.

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