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Aylesham Neighbourhood Project

Posted: June 23, 2011

With its experience in working with charities, Burgess Hodgson was an ideal choice to handle the charity’s interests, as project manager Kathryn Rodgers explains: “We were looking to get a competitive price from a local provider who could provide our accountancy services, but also find an accountant who truly understood the needs ofa local charity and the regulatory requirements that entails.

“We also wanted someone who didn’t think we weren’t important just because we were small. On all these fronts, Burgess Hodgson ticked all the right boxes for us.”

The charity is based in Aylesham, although in reality covers an area quite a bit larger than that, including an extensive rural area that includes Ash, Preston and Wingham. While some of the charity’s clients fall within certain target groups – the family support services are likely to be used by vulnerable families – it is firmly at the heart of the local community, with the children’s centre being providing resources for the anyone within the area.

Although the charity had an incumbent accountant, Burgess Hodgson was able to win the business as a result of its experience and cost-effectiveness. “We liked the idea that Burgess Hodgson would be able to provide us with forward thinking business advice,” says Kathryn. “As a result, we appointed them to provide all our accounting services, as well as look after our payroll requirements.”

And she’s in no doubt about that the advice Burgess Hodgson has provided has been extremely important. “For example, they were able to help us with insight into restructuring our café, analysing the finances and helping us understand what other similar businesses would do and staffing levels we could expect,” says Kathryn.
“Because the firm has a wide client base in terms of sectors, we are able to benefit from the sharing of best practice.”

Burgess Hodgson has also been able to advise the Aylesham Neighbourhood Project on what finance system would suit it best as a charity, without trying to push a complicated model that it didn’t need.

“We are about to look at all our funding streams and what we need to do to generate more income,” says Kathryn. “We have a fairly diverse range of income, but the main thing for charities is to look at diversifying further so they’re not reliant on one particular funder. Burgess Hodgson will be able to support us in this, particularly in relation to tendering and helping us be competitive against private sector providers.”