Introducing Nikki Evans, our Finance Manager

Introducing our Finance Manager, Nikki Evans. Nikki explains what it’s like to work within the finance department at The Gingerbread Centre:

“The first 6 months of any calendar year are always the busiest for finance departments. In addition to the usual monthly tasks such as payroll, expenditure and purchase ledger, income and sales ledger, bank analysis and reconciliations, and all other tasks required for the production of the monthly management accounts, Finance Managers will usually find themselves busy with the annual budgets. Creating an annual budget for a charity differs as we’re not expected to generate a profit, the income we receive is used to improve the lives of the vulnerable families, teenage parents and pregnant women that we support.

So, in January to March of any year I’m usually busy creating and seeking approval of the annual budgets for the next financial year, and this usually requires 6 or 7 drafts being considered before finally reaching a figure that the Board of Trustees can approve. Here at Gingerbread 2019/20 draft 7 budget was approved at the March 2019 board meeting, and this year we have the addition of our new fundraising department, which is now included in our budget and therefore also needed adding to our accounting software, Sage.

After finalising the budget and inputting the figures to Sage, it’s on to the year end tasks required for both the accounts and payroll. This involves reconciling all the payroll and balance sheet accounts, and can take up to three months to complete, around other duties, before a final figure can be provided to our auditors.

We also have legislative payroll changes to process at this time of year, such as new tax codes and increased pension contributions. Any agreed pay increases are usually added in April too. In addition there are often ad hoc task to complete such as costing any new projects that the charity are considering. We have recently suffered cuts to our statutory funding, so in order to maintain our current services we now have the challenge of seeking funding from other sources, and the finance team will often be required to assist with any new grant or funding applications by providing costings.

My hours are part time and I have a part time finance assistant whose main areas of responsibility include processing the purchase ledger and paying our suppliers, posting our income, including housing benefit and just giving donations, and reconciling the bank accounts. We have recently acquired a new volunteer to assist us in the finance department. Currently she comes in one or two days per month to count and bank coins donated to us via our collecting boxes, which we are finding very helpful.

So, between us we just about manage to get all our monthly tasks done before we move onto the next month and start the process all over again!”