Do UK charity accounts measure up?

Paul Creasey profile image

Paul Creasey, Partner

Paul is a Partner at Wilkins Kennedy. He joined the firm in 2015, having previously worked with Grant Thornton, KPMG and Baker Tilly.

Sept. 11, 2019

 Recent research published the by the Charity Commission suggests they may not.   

In their 2019 survey of charity accounts, the Commission set some reporting benchmarks and then they looked at 296 sets of accounts across 3 income bands and found around half of them were found wanting. For charities with income of £25,000 - £250,000 just 37% met the benchmark.  This improved to 51% for the £250,000 - £1m bracket and 76% for income over £1m. 

What can we learn from this?
  • The Commission is interested in smaller charities. The notion that “we’re just a small charity and no one is interested in us” doesn’t wash. 
  • One size does fit all.  Whilst critics of the current SORP may suggest it is unfair to use the same reporting framework for almost any charity with income in excess of £250,000, the research shows the Commission expects smaller charities to be as good with their reporting as the larger institutions.
  • Pay attention to your related party transaction disclosures.  This was singled out as an area of weakness, particularly relating to transactions with persons and entities closely connected to the charity or its trustees. 

Being a public benefit entity comes with privileges, but at a cost too in the form of good governance, accountability and transparency.  At Wilkins Kennedy, we pride ourselves on being a specialist in the not for profit arena - in our dealings with clients, we’re firm but fair and work with them so we can all put our names to a set of accounts we won’t be embarrassed by.  And we’ll give you some great advice along the way too.  

For more information, contact your usual Wilkins Kennedy partner or paul.creasey@wilkinskennedy.com

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