Insight: key take-aways from our Cathedrals update seminar

5th December 2019

Last week we hosted our first cathedrals update for English Anglican Cathedrals. 

We are grateful to delegates who travelled from as far as Newcastle, Norwich, York, and Hereford to join us. 

Our speakers covered a wide variety of topics and included the following take-aways:

  • Jane Askew outlined the impact on cathedrals of the likely requirement for Charity Commission registration and she drew attention to the new guidance to auditors on going concern, which will affect the conversations cathedrals can expect to have with their auditors in the future
  • Stephen Fisher encouraged delegates to ‘think the unthinkable’ emphasising that no area of income or expenditure should be “off limits.” Cathedrals should, for example, challenge whether they need to provide catering or if current levels of expenditure on music are sustainable
  • Alex Gillespie discussed key business challenges and the need for investment in people and financial reporting
  • Adam Halsey discussed the need for strategic planning and risk management to be practical to avoid common pitfalls
  • Alice Palmer provided a tour of direct tax pitfalls and opportunities including Gift Aid as well as Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief
  • David Sewell addressed financial governance and discussed comparisons with best practice in the wider charity sector
  • Stephen Fisher presented some practical considerations for financial modelling and the need for ownership and understanding of the model and the underlying data
  • Phil Salmon suggested that cathedrals could reduce their exempt income and thus increase VAT recovery if they were to disable the fundraising and cultural exemptions or by holding residential property in a separate subsidiary

Our plenary session covered a range of topics and promoted a lively discussion on the sector’s positive movement structurally and the need for cultural change.
The Cathedrals update seminar will now be an annual event hosted by haysmacintyre to provide updates on tax and financial issues, risk management and governance matters relating to Anglican Cathedrals in the UK. It is a part of a suite of annual events we offer to faith-based charities.

haysmacintyre is one of the leading actors for faith-based charities in the UK and we audit more of the top 5,000 charities than any other firm (Charity Financials, December 2019).

To read more and book your place at one of our upcoming events, please click here:

For further information on haysmacintyre services for Cathedrals please contact
David Sewell at

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