[foundation-board] Draft 2014 financial statement for approval

Karin Christiansen k.christiansen at party.coop
Thu Feb 26 20:09:36 UTC 2015

Tom, thanks so much for this!  Much appreciated.

I will have look through over the weekend also but these all seem important to address.  Michelle - it strikes me that you can probably start work on these and other are likely to be in addition rather than contradictory.

Except perhaps for Tom's 5th point, on  level of detail.  Charitable registration does demand that level, whatever the size, so I suspect we were making sure we have the systems in place to do it.  It also helps with applications too from memory.   More generally, I guess there is something about... transparency and openness... that we should probably take into account.  Does that makes sense?



From: foundation-board [mailto:foundation-board-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Tom Cobbold
Sent: 26 February 2015 15:10
To: OKF Board Mailing List; Michelle Heydon; Fiona Thompson
Subject: Re: [foundation-board] Draft 2014 financial statement for approval

Hi all -

My initial comments are below, Michelle can you answer anything that springs off the page at you please, and we'll ask the auditors what's obviously theirs afterwards ?

- It's a meaty directors' report which doesnt focus exclusively on FY14, whilst yes having points to make about 2014.  I'm not certain this is the place for the background, mission, summary of impact to date, some bloke called Rufus's honours.  I'm not certain it isn't either, but it's unusual for this section to be so expansive over and above the perfunctory end bit about who the directors are and what our responsibilities are, at least, not in a small company likes ours.  Compare and contrast, if you have the inclination, with the ODI.  Their website has an almighty, glitzy annual report which is a 56 page marketing document http://opendatainstitute.org/odis-first-year-annual-report, explains more to do with biscuit consumption in the office than changes in working capital on the balance sheet; and their filing on Companies House, which has the boring old statutory document with the financials, which I paid £1 to enjoy so you don't have to - see attached.   Also I note the directors of ODI only got £230,000 in remuneration last year.  Under-achievers !

- We mention rebrand in the directors' report but don't actually have the nice new logo all over the document, which we could have, and I tend to think should have.

- p7 K Christiansen, not Christiensen.  Can we also include our first names please, I rather like being Tom Cobbold, and I think gender composition is worth disclosing in this quiet way.

- Presentationally, the left hand margin is heavily indented on each page, I think we're attempting to steer to far onto middle ground and not erring to the left quite as nature intended.

- Our income and expenditure account differs in style from that of the ODI, it's more expansive.  I'm not entirely convinced that reporting as we are under obligations of FRSSE (the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities) we're required to disclose an income and expense account at all, but having done so it would seem that stylistically we can do as we wish, to some extent.   Ours raises little questions like how come our income after direct costs is 23% (£532k) this year where it was 17% (£299k) last, no bad thing but up a third, really, so what does that imply ?  Why have our administrative costs gone up by 60% rom £379k to £608k.  It's probably presentational to some extent, how we've classified legitimate growth in costs rather than a serious change in the structure of things, though an explanation seems important.  I conclude that maybe we should do as the ODI have done and merely disclose all our costs as 'admin expenses', if we disclose an income and expense account at all, which I suppose I feel we should even if we're allowed not to, given what we're about here at O.K.

- How come there is a CT refund due of £2,712 when Michelle is writing out a cheque for £1,607.40 per recent email on tax ?

- Note 4, staff costs, average staff numbers changing from 5 to 7, yet aggregate staff costs grow from £55k to £441k, how is this explained ?

- The detailed income and expense account is not for filing of course, but it's interesting to see:-
(a) Our software development cost of sale changes from £422k to nil.  How so ?
(b) Donations income show a fivefold increase - wow - that's fantastic - from £21k to £107k.  Explained as ?
(c) Indirect staff costs are up rom £55k to £92k, explained as ?
(d) Advertising and marketing expenses up from £5k to £43k, explained as ?
(e) Travel & Subsistence up from £126k to £193k, explained as ?
(f) What are £41k of 'Training Voucher" costs ?
(g) Sundry costs up from £3k to £19k, explained as ?
(h) In finance costs [if you ignore bank charges] the FX costs are a net £3k expense in FY 2013, and a net £83k expense in FY14.  I know I've gone on about it many times, and that we've developed our FX strategy a bit, and Barclays have I believe lowered their costs since I spoke with the Cambridge team on OK behalf, and of course in FY14 we did sit on a load of dollars whilst the pound strengthened markedly.  The dollar is a little weaker today than in recent weeks, we're at c1.55 where we have been under 1.50.  How many dollars are we holding just now, and what's the cash-flow prognosis ?

Gong forward of course monthly management accounts will help us iron out creases and spare consternation at the appearance of a full year in contrast with its prior comparative.


Tom Cobbold FCCA
36 Castle Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1BJ
M 07968 324935 E tomcobbold at yahoo.co.uk<mailto:tomcobbold at yahoo.co.uk> S tomcobbold

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