Third Sector Awards: Finance Team of the Year – SJOG

Awarded to the finance team that has displayed exceptional financial leadership by, for example, improving the charity’s financial performance or by helping it to overcome significant challenges.

What does the team do?

SJOG, founded in 1880, supports disabled people, older people, and people who are homeless or subject to modern day slavery. The charity recently came very close to folding, making a £1.9million loss on a £15 million income in 2018.

When Leanne Welford joined as chief finance officer at the end of 2018 the finance team were mainly temporary agency staff. She set about creating a clear team structure with existing temps either recruited into roles or let go, and recruited a financial controller. 

What did it achieve?

The team has been instrumental in transforming the financial health of the charity, establishing team values, setting a strategy and goals and communicating this to the rest of the organisation.

The finance team created bespoke training to meet the differing finance needs and skill levels of each manager, and ensured managers had the skills and information to negotiate with funders. A review of staffing and supplier contracts achieved £674,000 of savings, and the team negotiated a £150,000 discount on a new integrated IT system.

Better evidence has meant improved relationships with funders, a financial modelling process that supports growth, and better decisions being made across the charity.

Why did it win?

The charity has grown its income by 20 per cent, ending the year in surplus with £1.1 million added to the balance sheet. It is on track to increase income to £21 million this year and will again end the year in surplus, rebuilding its reserves.

What did the judges say?

“Very impressive results. The team should be commended for ensuring the viability of the organisation, allowing it to continue to provide its services for the long term.”


Diabetes UK

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