FINANCE NEWS: CAF plans shake-up of annual report and accounts awards

MATHEW LITTLE

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is planning major changes to the Charities Annual Report and Accounts Awards.

The 30 November deadline for entries for the 2003 awards has been delayed by six months as CAF is in talks with co-sponsor the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The awards, which started in 1982, will now take place at the CAF annual conference in November.

One proposal, which seems certain to be accepted, is to replace the print-based awards with an online accounts and annual report competition.

"The standard has definitely improved and given that charities are now being encouraged to be more accountable, we need to reflect that," said a CAF spokeswoman.

"We hope to run a competition next year but people will have plenty of time to enter their accounts."

A spokesman for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said that both the Institute and CAF were "very keen" on the online awards proposal but discussions were ongoing. "Charities have made great strides in the printed version but an online award could act as a catalyst to improve their web sites," he said.

Stephen Burgess, charity consultant at accountant Saffery Champness and a judge of the awards, said: "A lot of charities enter the awards to get feedback about how to do better. If this proposal is accepted, we will need to find a way of not excluding smaller charities."

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