Finance News: Hike in prize money as top 100 enter Charity Account Awards

The top 100 fundraising charities are to be given automatic entry to this year's Charities Account Awards.

The awards, which are jointly sponsored by Charities Aid Foundation and the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, recognise the best presentation of online accounts in the sector.

For 2005, the awards' four income categories will be supplemented by a separate competition for the top 100 fundraising charities as listed in the CAF publication Charity Trends.

Harry McAdoo, director of communications at the ICAEW, said: "Although entry to the awards is on a voluntary basis, this year we have taken the decision to automatically enter the top 100 charities. We want to hold a light up to those organisations at the cutting edge of charitable reporting in order to provide benchmarks for the whole sector."

The sponsors have also increased the prize money for the awards. Winners in each category will receive £5,000 rather than the £2,000 of previous years.

For the first time, prize money will also be given to the runners-up.

Charities in second place will receive £750 and those in third will be awarded £250.

"The sponsors and judges believe that an increase in the prize money will better reflect the importance placed on the awards as a driver of good practice," said CAF head of marketing Graham Ullett. "We also want to reward those charities that enter the awards each year and regularly reach the shortlist."

The chair of the Charity Finance Directors' Group, Paul Breckell, is set to join the judging panel this year. The panel is chaired by Graham Ward, senior partner at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

Among the winners of the 2004 awards were Weston Spirit, the Young Minds Trust and St Anne's, Soho.

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