PARN’s eighth annual Financial Benchmarking for Professional Bodies report launched on 11 October. These reports are produced by PARN in partnership with haysmacintyre and are a must-read for any professional body staff involved in forecasting and planning financial activity.
This year’s report reveals that 2015 to 2016 was a very mixed year for the UK based professional body sector.
Scroll down to read our CEO’s take on this year’s findings.
The good news was that:
- Total revenues rose (though by a mere 1.2%), and total membership rose by 2.6%.
- Reserves rose from 13.6 months of total income on average to 14.6 months
- The overall surplus for the sector rose substantially from £33 million to £123 million.
However, the bad news was that:
- Overall operating surplus fell substantially from £61 million to only £9 million and this on turnover of £2.8 billion. (The difference between operating surplus and surplus is that the latter includes gains and losses outside of operations and in the year to 2016 a small number of professional bodies enjoyed very substantial gains in pension scheme assets).
- The proportion of professional bodies in deficit for the year rose, though very slightly, from 32.6% to 33.9%
This year’s report contains the results of a PARN survey on international development for UK professional bodies for which there were 91 useable responses.
Those with relatively few student members overseas are expecting this number to grow most over the next five years. However, growth in full and other members overseas is expected to increase most for professional bodies that currently have more members in these categories.
China followed by India and then by the USA are considered to be the most important markets outside the UK both currently and in the next five years.
In spite of predicted substantial future growth in international membership, many challenges are considered particularly serious; particularly lack of knowledge about what international members want and ensuring that entry requirements, professional standards and CPD take into account different national educational standards.