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Standard Financial Statement One Year On PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 March 2018
This month marks one year since the launch of the Standard Financial Statement (SFS), an initiative designed to bring greater consistency to the way organisations assess people’s finances when they fall behind on payments.  

Successfully launched in March 2017, over 1000 organisations are now signed up to the statement, and customers and organisations are starting to witness the benefits of a tool created with the insight of multiple industry practitioners. Equally, the new savings category has started to help people build financial resilience while repaying their debts, where possible. It is expected that by the end of 2018 more than 90% of the UK’s advice providers will be using the Standard Financial Statement.

Dan Osmond, Product Owner, Lloyds Banking Group said: “As we explore the future design of customer budgets in a fast changing environment, the SFS provides the stable foundation to build upon. As a standardised and cooperative approach, it allows our customers and those supporting them to share one version of the truth without having to reconstruct their information to suit each creditor or organisation.”

Craig Simmons, Money Advice Service Sector Co-ordination Manager said: “We are really pleased that the first year of the SFS has been a success with lots of positive feedback from those using it. It has been a project built on close collaboration between debt advice agencies, creditors and several other bodies connected with credit and debit, who have all come together to help secure better consistency for over-indebted people.

“We look forward to facilitating even greater collaboration in the sector and hope to see take-up and support of the SFS continue to grow next year, particularly in a wider range of creditors.”

Throughout the year we have listened to users of the SFS and updated it to suit their needs, launching a slightly amended format earlier this month. The spending guidelines have also been subjected to their annual update, which is based on a robust and fair methodology reviewed and enhanced from the Common Financial Statement.

Those organisations using the SFS should now amend the format and spending guidelines in line with our recent update and no later than 1 May. A developer toolkit is now available on the SFS website to assist the implementation or updating of the SFS. A ‘customer version’ has also just been released to aid broader usage by member organisations. This provides a SFS-compliant format but with additional guidance and plain language to help the public complete their own details accurately before engaging further with an advice provider or creditor.

Carol Marsh, Assistant Chief Officer and Project Manager, Citizens Advice Knowsley comments: “Now that we have been using the SFS as part of the Money Advice Recording Tool (MART) we are finding that it covers broader items of expenditure than the Common Financial Statement. This has resulted in a more realistic representation of household expenditure and allowances for individual & households. The savings section is also a positive addition and overall the team are finding the change to be positive as the SFS is proving to be a lot easier and quicker to use.”
 

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