Charity Case Study 2 – Missionary Position

“Missionary Position”


  1. Horus Consulting
  2. Central London
  3. 2014/15



The charity exists because 40% of the worldwide Catholic Church is too poor to support itself. It plays a critical role in supporting the local church overseas by training priests, building churches and combating disease. The previous finance director had been dismissed for misleading results, financial reporting was inadequate and the finance function was heavily demoralised.


The purpose of the assignment was to:

  1. Introduce robust and regular reporting
  2. Improve morale in the finance function
  3. Reduce costs
  4. Support and advise the senior management team



Following an initial meeting with the National Director an action plan was drawn up to deliver results within 6 months.

The team role analysis revealed that the finance department was previously not given clear direction and was demoralised. The two finance assistants had a good source of knowledge about the charity, but required management and guidance regarding accounting matters. The issue was inaccurate reporting, inadequate financial modelling and no cover for its payroll function.



  1. Daily meetings were instigated with the bookkeeper to develop a transparent accounting framework in which all costs and revenue were booked to the ledger.
  2. Regular discussions were held with the accounts assistant to build and develop an accurate fixed asset register. Full training was given and this task was then delegated to the accounts assistant to maintain on a monthly basis.
  3. Mapped out the existing process, reviewed the constraints and blockages, analysed what is needed and by whom?
  4. Talked to the senior management team to ensure issues were resolved, ensured that they were aware of the risks facing the charity

Other issues were looked at during this time as confidence in the finance team grew: – for example:

  • A budget was created and signed off by the finance subcommittee (the first in the Charity’s history)
  • An IT strategy was developed which improved functionality and reduced costs by 62%
  • Staff development plans were put in place



  1. Accurate management accounts for the Charity were issued to the finance subcommittee on a regular basis
  2. Improvement in morale, leading to less mistakes and willingness to undertake new ideas
  3. Introduction of 2015 budget and risk register
  4. Introduction of key risks and a plan to minimise them