All accountants are the same – aren’t they?
I hear that quite a lot, and that’s OK, I understand! However if you can spare a few moments, I can explain why that’s not quite the case, how we at Gerrard Financial Consulting are a little bit different, and why that difference will benefit your organisation.
For a start, one important distinction is that we specialise in providing accountancy, training and consultancy services specifically to the charity and not for profit (NFP) sector. It’s an area I discovered a passion for in my early days as a trainee. I loved being involved in trustee board meetings. They were full of people from mixed backgrounds bringing a multitude of talents and experiences, all for the greater good of the organisation. I can honestly say I loved it.
Since moving to Bristol in 2010, I’ve followed a business ethos of a 70:30 split between my business clients and pro bono work for charities. This has allowed me to provide much needed support to smaller and start-up charities, helping them with forecasting, budgeting and setting objectives, something that they don’t always have the funds to engage their existing accountants for.
Whilst it’s been very rewarding work, I’ve also learned a lot from the people I’ve met and the challenges they face. It’s helped in my other work for our clients and given me even greater depths of knowledge in this often complex sector.
I’m now fortunate to be supported by a talented, diligent team who share this ethos and work hard for our clients.
How can GFC help your organisation?
As the majority of charities and not for profit (NFP) organisations are faced with time pressures and limited funds, our work is focused on helping clients streamline their accounting practices, using the latest technology to save time and expense.
We use Cloud accounting to enable quick and easy bookkeeping, and can offer support virtually, with no need for expensive client visits. Key personnel can access accounts at any time, from anywhere, putting them in control and facilitating quicker, more accurate decisions.
We’re able to view accounts in an instant too, and offer consultancy that’s focused on helping clients boost funds, become investment ready and funding ready. An efficient, well-run organisation that can demonstrate it is in control of its finances is a more attractive investment proposition. We help our clients iron out any inefficiencies so they run more effectively and devote more attention to their core activities.
Innovation has transformed accounting practices and financial management in recent years, helping organisations run their finances on rails and making information accessible to all. These include several time saving tools which integrate with QuickBooks Online and are easy to put into place. Take a look:
- Receipt Bank provides paperless and automated expenditure bookkeeping
- Futrli provides real-time reporting, including dashboard KPI (Key Performance Indicator) perspectives and instant cash flow
- Practice Ignition runs internal processes and engagement procedures
- GoCardless automates collection of fees and/ or membership subscriptions using Direct Debits
- Transaction Pro Importer to facilitate the import of spreadsheet data into QuickBooks Online
All of the above can be implemented with ease, are user friendly and do not demand high up front costs. We provide training in any new skills needed and find these are quickly learned and indeed embraced as they change working practices for the better.
Socially minded peer networking
Our work doesn’t stop at number crunching, reporting and financial consultancy. We’re aware our clients are often faced with similar challenges, so we’ve created regular forums where senior leaders can meet, share ideas on best practice and lobby for change.
Our peer networking events include regular meetings to discuss the Raiser’s Edge fundraising software where we’ll problem share and help attendees achieve a smooth integration into their business practices.
The impact for you:
Could working with Gerrard Financial Services help save your organisation time and money? We’ve calculated that for an average medium-sized charity the impact of working with us could be:
Time saved through automation: 5-7 days pm
Money saved through efficiencies: £9,801 per annum via:
- Software saving – moving from desktop to cloud: £724
- Saving on payroll costs: £9,078
These figures represent average typical savings experienced by our clients to date. Exact savings vary from client to client but we’re confident we can help save time and money for the organisations we work with.
In a nutshell…
Our ethos is to help charities become more efficient, demonstrate good governance and to spend their funding wisely – in doing so, maximising their impact on the world
I hope that you can see now why we’re a little different to other accounting practices. I’d be happy to have a chat with you to find out how you currently work and if there are savings and efficiencies to be made in your organisation. Just get in touch.
For more details of our pro bono work, please take a few moments to listen to a radio interview I gave recently during Bristol Volunteer Week.
You can listen to it here.
Here are just a few of comments from our clients expressing their appreciation for the progress they’ve made since working with us.
“GFC provided us with general compliance services, but also assisted with a transition to cloud accounting (QBO & Receipt Bank). The process increased the efficiency and robustness of the charity’s financial processes no end.”
– Jane Smith, Anorexia & Bulimia Care
Adding value for clients
“We recognised the additional benefits of moving to cloud-based software, meant that we no longer needed to worry about system back-ups. The finance department would also have access to work remotely whenever needed. The addition of Receipt Bank meant that all documentation would be available to view through the new system, allowing us to go paperless and also help make the audit process easier to manage”.
Hope for Tomorrow
Personalised support & training
Our collaborative way of working is about supporting clients.
“Unchosen are a small but growing charity and working with Jen Gerrard at Gerrard Financial Consulting has been little short of transformative for us. From the intricacies of QuickBooks, to her in-depth knowledge of the Charity Commission’s expectations, and her detailed work on our annual accounts, we’ve found her professional and knowledgeable every step of the way”.
– Melissa Blackburn, CEO, Unchosen