MyCake may not be a title you automatically associate with finances but this handy online resource is equipped with all the essential tools and information on how creative organisations can keep in check with their finances.
Now MyCake Towers, on Monday 11 July at 9am, has launched a special service of particular interest to RFO companies. The RFO benchmark is now live and is offering creative industries a free 12 month subscription to the service.
In preparation for the Arts Council England survey on the 31 July 2011 the subscription will allow organisations to benchmark their survey responses not only anonymously, but confidentially.
Organisations will therefore be able to do their own vital research into how your figures stack up peers by sector, by region and by size of organisation.
The research will be a helpful and informative way of keeping up-dated on stats so you are up-to-date and well prepared in time for your ACE annual review. Even if you are not an RFO you might want to join the benchmark so that you can use the results in Grants for the Arts applications and other communications with Arts Council England.
In MyCake’s conversations with ACE staff at all levels of the organisation they admitted they would welcome this shift in the dynamics of these relationships with arts officers. Of course you can do much more than use the analysis in discussions with ACE. You can work out where your strengths and weaknesses are vs. your peers without having to canvas colleagues from other organisations for their responses. Quite a few organisations have been using the Culture Benchmark results to bolster their arguments with funders and to demonstrate in quantitative terms where they are leaders in their field.
There are three key benefits for regularly funded organisations using the Culture Benchmark in addition to the ACE’s own RFO survey. Firstly the speed with which results can be accessed – the results are available immediately the minimum data set volume has been met, rather than once all data has been received. This should be in late July so that RFOs can make an initial benchmark of their survey answers within the Culture Benchmark before submitting the same data to ACE.
The second benefit is that contributors will be able to slice and dice the data as they see fit. The RFO Culture Benchmark is a secure online data tool rather than a static excel spreadsheet, making analysis and comparison of the aggregated data more immediate and flexible.
In particular it allows RFOs to ask questions of the data that matter to them. For example to filter the data so that it only shows a set of comparisons for a region, one type of art form or organisations with a similar turnover. The benchmark system also allows a filter by up to two factors at the same time and can filter by any of the lines of data in the survey. So, if an RFO wanted to make comparisons based on the makeup of the board or the diversity of its staff it could do this.
Finally, making use of the RFO Culture Benchmark has the ability to change the relationship between the RFO and its ACE officer. Instead of waiting to receive the survey results in the ACE annual review meeting, and RFO can review the benchmark before going into the meeting and will be in a position to participate in a rich discussion of the strengths and weaknesses as shown in the RFO survey results and benchmark. The benchmark is an excellent tool to prepared thoughts on the changes RFOs will be making. Based on conversations MyCake has had with ACE staff at all levels of the organisation they would welcome such a change in working relationships and would see this as arts organisations maturing their relationship with ACE.
For more information on MyCake please visit: http://www.mycakefinancialmanagement.co.uk/