PRCA revenue up 15 per cent as events and subscription income rises

The PRCA's revenues rose 15 per cent but it rang up a loss for the second consecutive financial year - although the organisation says this is due to be balanced out by pending tax adjustments.

Total income for the year to 31 March 2016 was £2.89m. The trade body registered a loss for the financial year of £30,806, which follows another loss of £19,875 in 2015, its annual report shows.

However, surpluses of £23,000 and £38,000 were recorded in 2014 and 2013 - and the PRCA retains total assets of £437,985. The organisation is run as a not-for-profit.

Almost exactly half of the PRCA's 2016 income (£1.44m) came from membership fees. This figure was up by £110,000 on the year before. Revenue from running training was up by more than a fifth to £567,457, and events income of £510,745 has risen by more than a quarter.

The two items contributing to a hike in outgoings were wages and marketing. Wages and salaries, the single biggest expense for the PRCA, totalled £556,061, a large rise on the £421,914 of 2015. Marketing costs of £227,134 were nearly double last year.

The accounts also show that director-general Francis Ingham earned a basic salary of £187,422 in the year, a seven per cent rise on the year before. He also earns £24,000 as the CEO of international body ICCO.

He told PRWeek: "The PRCA is utterly committed to transparency – that’s why I am unashamed to confirm my PRCA salary is £187,000, which is directly linked to the performance of the organisation.

"My salary has grown as the PRCA has grown, year on year, for the last nine years, to become the largest membership association for the PR and communications industry outside the US. From an association with a turnover of £728,000 in 2007 to one that now has a turnover of £2.89m. It’s a success story, and I’m proud of it."

Ingham points out that the PRCA submits itself for audit despite being legally exempt from doing so, saying this is part of the body's "commitment to transparency". He went on to say: "We make public what we do not have to make public, and what many similar organisations do not make public.

On the financial loss, Ingham said that this "relates to a change in the way we were audited", and notes that the organisation is "expecting to receive around £35,000 in tax adjustments".

"However, as a not-for-profit, our performance is not judged on how much surplus we make, but on the standard of our services and our growth," he said.

The accounts also note one related party transaction - member firm Firefly Communications Group was paid £7,140 (£5,147 in 2015) for provision of training courses. Clare Walker, the owner of the agency, is an accredited trainer for the PRCA. Firefly also used members services totalling £839 in the year.

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