2020 was a year we will always remember, but most will choose to forget. The curtailing of activities as a result of the pandemic has severely affected the Society’s 2020 financial results. We also changed our year end from 31 December to 31 October, to allow more time for the preparation and review of the accounts at a time when I, as your Treasurer, am already quite busy with the preparation of the Annual. This also had the effect of contributing to the reduction of income and expenditure with an accounting period which is two months shorter than the previous year, longstanding members will recall the year end used to be September. However, it was the pandemic that has had the greatest impact in reducing both income and expenditure.
The 2020 results of the Society show a small loss of £497. This comprised a small profit of £70 on normal charitable activities, last year this loss was £1,239 and our investments showed a small loss of £567, compared with an appreciation of £9,887 last year. The change year on year reflects a remarkably robust investment performance despite the economic uncertainties attributable to Brexit, the Covid19 pandemic and your Committee’s control of expenditure in the light of the pandemic’s personal restrictions.
The pandemic and the year-end change saw membership income from all sources drop by 67% to £7,667 from £23,580. We would have expected this income to be around £20,000 if we were only dealing with a shortened accounting period so it is safe to say that the pandemic has had the effect of more than halving our main source of income. It is notable that membership subscriptions have dropped by 51% to £4,833. Donations dropped by c£9,300 as a result of no shows – no prize money was won by the Society, no donation was received from the RHS for the display at Chatsworth, no NSPS show class sponsorship was received and severely reduced levels of other forms of donations were received. Income from charitable activities and investment income were broadly in line with the prior year totalling £4,555 (2019 £5,163) boosted by bank compensation of £550 received following errors made by the bank during the changeover of Treasurer.
Expenditure was £12,692 in 2020 compared with £29,982 in the previous period. The Society continued to print and send out all of its publications to members, which were printed in slightly lower numbers than the previous year and the timing of the new year end meant the cost and mailing of the Autumn Bulletin 2020 fell into next financial year, together reducing costs by a total of c£1,700. The forced cancellation of the exhibitions reduced spend by over £8,000. Committee meetings were moved online, a change in expenses policy and a review of costs together reduced spend by a further c£6,000.
The Society’s balance sheet remains robust with a net worth of £121,482 (2019:£122,519). The net worth is detailed fully in the balance sheet but it is worth noting that the cushion this provides would not last many years should there be sustained material changes in income levels. There is £89,293 invested with the Charities Investment Fund in a mixture of short term and long term investments to balance risk whilst maximising returns, a difficult thing to balance in the present fiscal environment but has proved to be a sound strategy in the current period with only a small drop in value at year end as noted above. It is worth noting that a long-term view should always be taken on investments, short term they can often be volatile, particularly at the moment.
£19,218 (2019:£20,242) of various stock items are held. This includes stamps purchased before the cost of second class/large seconds stamps went up of £7,054, this balance of pre-purchased stamps will save the Society just over £800 going forward at current prices. Medals and award cards were held amounting to £9,777 at cost with the balance being show equipment and stationery, membership related stationery, publications and merchandise. £13,113 was held in the bank accounts. The small debtor and creditor balances reflect gift aid claims due to be repaid by HMRC and the Independent Examiner’s fees.
In conclusion, despite matters outside the control of the Society, the financial result is reasonable, although we need to continue to be proactive. I would personally like to thank Membership Secretary, Julia Beardmore and Advertising Secretary, Gill Hazell, for their support and contributions to the Society.