By: Cherry Birch On: October 29, 2019

Firstly congratulations!

If, like many, you are on an NFP Board and therefore volunteering your time and skills to contribute to a great cause, then further congratulations are in order. However, being a director comes with a number of duties and responsibilities as I am sure you are aware. One of these which can be daunting is financial management oversight.

Indeed, over the last 20 years there have been a number of decisions in Australia where the courts have assessed and commented on the adequacy of the conduct and decision making of directors and officers.  Of the most notable of these decisions was  the Centro case,  which established the principle that it is part of a director’s duty to acquire a degree of financial literacy, including a knowledge of accounting practices and accounting standards, so that they are able to review financial statements and monitor the progress of the company.

Surely this does not apply to NFP Boards? Unfortunately, the answer is Yes it does still apply. To quote a 1991 case “ There is nothing to suggest that the standard to be expected of a part-time non-executive director of a company not for profit is different from the standard expected of any other director of a profit- making company: both are required……..to exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence in the exercise of their powers and the discharge of their duties”.

So, if any of the following sound familiar, then maybe we can help you and your Board –

  • “I need the confidence to ask questions on the finances, knowing that I’ll understand the answers”
  • “It’s hard to understand financials. I leave all that to our trustworthy CEO and CFO/Treasurer”.
  • “I need some guidance – where do I go? So many finance workshops are pitched for people with a higher level of financial understanding than I have and/or they are very expensive”.

So how can we help? 2 options for you:

  • At FTA, we can run a customised one day program for your Board. We are more than happy to run this at weekends to work around everyone’s availability. We will start with the basics but ensure we spend some time looking at the financial statements of your organisation, or
  • Sign yourself up for our Boardroom Excellence program – a series of 4 half day workshops. Our next program is scheduled for February/March 2020. Details can be found by clicking here. There is an early bird offer closing on 31st December and in order that we can simulate a board meeting, places are limited to just 12. (We can of course run this program for your whole Board if this is interest).