My key KPI: 'Zero result'

17th May 2018
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My key KPI

Welcome to ‘My key KPI’, a weekly content series where we ask CFOs and FDs what metrics and measures they use to drive their organisations forward.

The aim is to understand how different finance professionals, across a broad array of industries and sectors, use data to inform their decision making.

In this edition, we hear from Espen Ruud, head of finance for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), who spoke with AccountingWEB at Unit4 Connect in Amsterdam earlier this week.


If the NRC was a business, it would be satisfied with its growth trajectory. The NGO has grown 38% in the last year alone, said Espen Ruud, the organisation's head of finance.

As with any charity, Ruud is under enormous pressure to ensure that its donations (£283m and counting at time of writing) are used judiciously. So his first metric is a basic one, but it's a strong indicator of how NRC is performing. "We count how many beneficiaries we help annually," said Ruud. "Last year, we helped around nine million across our five core focuses".

Measuring the intangibles of the help are trickier, however. Outcomes are more a matter for interpretation in the charity sector, and according to Ruud, it's best left to more suitable leaders within the charity.

"I focus on the cost side of things. That we're not spending more than our budgets," he said. "That means keeping our administration costs low and spending our funds where needed."

The aim is, as Ruud phrases it, a 'zero result'. "Not a big profit, but also not a loss. The aim is to maintain the equity and growth. It makes economies of scale possible."

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