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Charities as businesses?


In recent weeks, the Irish media has revealed yet another charity mis-using funds – this time the founders used a lot of the charity monies for personal purposes. 

Regulation of charities in Ireland is not as good as it could be – we have some legislation waiting to be enacted since 2009 as far as I know. But laws cannot prevent what happens within an organisation from happening; they can only penalise after the event. 

So what bugs me? Well, the title of this post really – it is something I picked up from the print media in recent weeks. I am sure I have said somewhere on this blog that accounting is the language of business,  so what about accounting for charities?  My own opinion is that charities must have proper accounting, and there are accounting standards already in place for charities. But I often wonder should we be careful and not allow charities to become too much like a business? For example, we should be using accounting in charities to drive efficiencies, not necessarily monitor revenue and costs like in a business. Nor should we be using accounting just to get funding for a charity. In short, what I am trying to say is that we need to be careful and try to not let accounting (and other commercial sector notions) detract from what a charity should be.

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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

One response to “Charities as businesses?”

  1. Anna Chase says :

    I agree about to not let accounting or any other commercial sector notions detract from what a charity should be. Charity should be charity, a way for us to help who is in need. I always had this thought but I never really tell a word about before the Ireland issues emerge. Hopefully, there are charity foundations out there whom actually take charity as it is. Visit us at http://credifin-nederland.nl/. Thank you.

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