Liverpool social enterprise FRC Group has been named the best SME in the Finance for the Future awards – founded by HRH The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and ICAEW, (Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).
The awards recognise organisations which transform the way traditional business is done, using financial leadership to create successful, sustainable businesses.
There were a record number of entries this year and the judges said: “FRC stood out for the judges, as not only have the finance team helped to develop new approaches to measure social impact, but these are being used in practice to analyse their performance and make decisions at Board level that maximise social capital.”
FRC Group’s social mission is to reduce and ultimately eradicate furniture poverty, they campaign to raise awareness of furniture poverty and create practical solutions to get furniture to people who need it. They also help to create sustainable employment and better futures for people.
The registered charity runs a number of social businesses to achieve this mission, including Bulky Bob’s which collects preloved furniture through local authority contracts to distribute to those in need, Furniture Resource Centre and Buckingham Interiors which sells new contract furniture to social housing providers, and Our House, an ethical weekly payment store selling furniture, white goods and home entertainment products.
FRC Group has a strong reputation for measuring the social impact that it creates – how much of a difference it makes to people’s lives. This has now been developed to use the same principles of reporting on our finances, to report on our social impact and then using this information to make decisions about the way the social enterprise is run.
Tony Rowan, FRC Group’s Head of Finance, explained: “We believe that this social value budgeting is unique and it was developed to make sure that we are making the biggest positive impact we can in the lives of the people we are here to help.
“We are delighted with this award which not only recognises our pioneering work to develop social value budgeting, but will hopefully inspire more social enterprises to use this model to make good decisions about how to allocate their resources based on robust forecasts of their business activity but also of the social value that is created and the difference they making to people’s lives.”
Judges for the award included leading members of the ICAEW team, and the leaders from organisations such as Crossrail and The Crown Estate.
Richard Spencer, ICAEW’s Head of Sustainability, said: “When we set up Finance for the Future our aim was simple, to recognise the work of finance in driving sustainability. The winners of the awards have shown us that there are many new models which can achieve sustainable businesses. They have highlighted that we need to change our thinking, and what we do, to make a difference. All of our finalists, and especially our winners, are examples that business can learn from.”