Leah clients sitting around a table

The problem

Learn English at Home (LEAH), is a small Kingston based charity which helps ethnic minority adults, including refugees and migrants resident in the boroughs of Kingston, Richmond and Hounslow to improve their English language skills. LEAH was founded in 1982 and became a CIO 2013. Leah has a turnover of under £240,000, over 100 volunteers, and 6 staff (4 FTE).

Two years ago LEAH Director, Kate Brown, came to KVA for help with finances. LEAH’s finances had previously been led by a treasurer who had left and Kate was new in role and struggling with the internal skills and capacity to get LEAH’s financial reporting to the level she needed, to help her plan for the future, communicate with the board and feel confident that they were meeting requirements.  

KVA’s Support

KVA’s Community Accountancy Service provided a broad package of support, both free and paid for, to help Kate and LEAH develop their knowledge and financial practices.

  • Free support: The Community Accountancy Service met with Kate a number of times to help her understand how to read financial statements well; how to develop strong financial controls and to provide tax advice. KVA also set up a bespoke financial system for LEAH to use, allowing LEAH to analyse their finances better, and providing a way to get real time financial information and support the creation of a cash flow forecast.
  • Paid for support: LEAH booked Jacky from the Community Accountancy Service to work two hours a month to input and analyse their financial data. Jacky also prepared LEAH’s finances for their year-end independent exam (similar to an audit).

Problem solved

Kate is now confident that LEAH’s finances are robust and meet UK regulations. She is able to communicate clearly with the board about LEAH’s finances and is able to use detailed financial analysis to plan for the upcoming year with more clarity. With the ongoing monthly support from KVA, Kate is also able to allocate LEAH staff time more effectively – freeing up time for fundraising and operational work.

Kate Brown, Director, LEAH, said:

“KVA’s ongoing support has been absolutely invaluable. They trained me up, so that I have the financial knowledge I need to run LEAH, and provide ongoing financial support that takes the pressure off my team. It’s a real pleasure working with them and we will continue to do so”