Accounting for Voluntary Groups

Related imageIs your group run by a management committee? Then you need to be aware that you hold the same responsibilities as a charity trustee when handling money that does not belong to you personally.

Well regulated accounts will show all day-to-day entries for all money received or spent, showing what the money was spent on, or received for, during the group’s financial year. 

Many groups run their financial years to begin on April 1st and end on 31st March the following year, but different dates may be chosen if more appropriate to your group’s activities (eg matching the season if a sports group, or school year if it involves young children)

All financial records should be kept for six years

If you need help in setting up or modifying your accounting system, please get in touch here

Improving Digital Skills – Learn My Way

Image result for Learn My Way digital skillsLearn My Way is the online learning platform built by Good Things Foundation to make getting online easy. 

The website contains over 30 free courses designed to help beginners get started with the online basics – using a mouse, keyboard, setting up email accounts and using internet search engines – while also offering plenty to help people continue their journey to develop their digital skills further.

Learners can try the free online courses at home, work their way through with a friend or family member, or go to their local Online Centre for some tailored help and guidance.

The site offers more advanced learners the opportunity to progress on to further skills, including courses to help them become confident users of online health services, manage their finances, and a guide to use Universal Jobmatch and gain skills for employment. 

Pension Contribution Rate Changes

Related imageMinimum Contribution Rates for Workplace Pensions are changing

This table shows the minimum contributions you must pay and the date when they must increase

Date Employer minimum contribution Staff contribution Total minimum contribution
Until 5 April 2018 1% 1% 2%
6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 2% 3% 5%
6 April 2019 onwards 3% 5% 8%

More information can be found here, including a letter template to send to staff

Time Off for Family and Dependants

Related imageYour rights – As an employee you’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.  A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care.

How much you get – You’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.  ExampleIf your child falls ill you could take time off to go to the doctor and make care arrangements.  Your employer may then ask you to take annual leave or parental leave if you want to look after your child for longer.  Tell your employer as soon as possible how much time you’ll need so it can be agreed.

Limits on time off – There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependants.  Your employer may want to talk to you if they think time off is affecting your work.

Pay – Your employer may pay you for time off to look after dependants but they don’t have to.  Check your contract, company handbook or intranet site to see if there are rules about this.

Exceptions – You can’t have time off if you knew about a situation beforehand.  For example you wouldn’t be covered if you wanted to take your child to hospital for an appointment. You might get parental leave instead.  Check your employment status to see if you’re classed as an ‘employee’.

Compassionate leave – If you aren’t given time off for dependants, your employer may allow you ‘compassionate leave’ – this can be paid or unpaid leave for emergency situations.  Check your employment contract, company handbook or intranet for details about compassionate leave.

You can find more details here

Company Tax Returns

Image result for charity company tax returnCompany Tax Returns

You must complete a Company Tax Return if your charity is a limited company or unincorporated association when this is required by HM Revenue and Customs. You need to include the supplementary pages for charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs).

A charity is a limited company if it was set up by a:

  • constitution
  • memorandum and articles of association
  • royal charter or Act of Parliament

Limited companies must also send annual accounts to Companies House. You must complete a tax return when HMRC asks you to, even if no tax is due. You may have to pay a penalty if your tax return is late or you don’t complete one when you should.

You can find more information about charities and tax here

Pay Rates for Apprentices

guilds3If you become an apprentice, you will be paid during your during your apprenticeship.  You’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.50 per hour (rising to £3.70 in April 2018)

This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.

You must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for your age if you’re an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed your first year.

Year 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2017 (current) £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50
 From April 2018 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70

You can find more about apprentice pay and conditions here

How to remove a trustee from the board

IntegrityCheck your charity’s governing document to see if it has a procedure for removing trustees.

You usually need a good reason to remove a trustee, such as if they have done something that damages your charity’s reputation.

If your charity is a company, you have the right to remove a director, providing you follow the correct procedures. You have this right under the Companies Act 2006, regardless of what else is written in your articles of association.

You can hold a vote of no confidence to encourage someone to resign as a trustee. This could be part of your charity’s rules for removing a trustee, or written into its governing document. If it isn’t part of your charity’s rules, the vote has no legal power and the trustee won’t have to resign.

More details can be found here

Why is a reserves policy important?

A Reserves Policy explains to existing and potential funders, donors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders why a charity is holding a particular amount of reserves.

A good reserves policy gives confidence to stakeholders that the charity’s finances are being properly managed and will also provide an indicator of future funding needs and its overall resilience.

The Charities SORP requires a statement of a charity’s reserves policy within its annual report. In addition, if a charity operates without a reserves policy, the regulations require this fact to be stated in the annual report.

You can find out much more here

Changing Your Charity’s Governing Document

You can apply to change your charity’s governing document. 

Before you start

You must:

You’ll need:

  • details of the changes you want to make
  • reasons for the changes
  • the date the changes were accepted by Companies House, if your charity is a company and you already have consent from the Charity Commission

You may be asked to upload your governing document as a PDF as part of the online application.

More detailed information can be found here

National Minimum Wage Changes

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

You must be at least:

  • school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage
  • aged 25 to get the National Living Wage – the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 24 and under

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates change every April.

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2017 (current) £7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50
April 2018 £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70

More detailed information can be found here