Legal Requirements for Accounting Records

All charities (whether registered with the Charity Commission or not) must prepare accounts and make them available on request.  All charities must keep accounting records, and prepare annual accounts which must be made available to the public on request

Charities with a gross income of more than £25,000 in their financial year are required to have their accounts independently examined or audited

Keeping accounting records

These records – for example cash books, invoices, receipts, Gift Aid records etc must be retained for at least 6 years (or at least 3 years in the case of charitable companies); where Gift Aid payments are received records will need to be maintained for 6 years with details of any substantial donors and to identify ‘tainted charity donations’ in accordance with HMRC guidance

An independent examination is an external review of a charity’s accounts and is carried out by an independent person with the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination

An examination involves a review of the accounting records kept by the charity, and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records.  This means that all cash books, bank statements, invoices and receipts must also be made available for checking by the independent examiner

The Importance of Bank Reconciliation

One of the most important tasks in preparing accounts for Independent Examination is Bank Reconciliation

A Bank Reconciliation is used to compare your records to those of your bank, to see if there are any differences between these two sets of records for your cash transactions. The ending balance of your version of the cash records is known as the book balance, while the bank’s version is called the bank balance.  A monthly reconciliation helps you identify any unusual transactions that might be caused by accounting errors or fraud.

Mr ClawOur training manual “The Adventures of Mr Claw in the World of Charity Accounting” explains Bank Reconciliation and Statement production, and how to implement these procedures in to your organisation’s accounting procedures. Get your copy here

 

End of Year Accounts

For those of you whose accounting period ended on 31st March 2015, may we gently remind you that accounts will need to be submitted to our office for examination as early as possible before your AGM date.

These accounts will also need to be filed with the Charity Commission by 31st January 2016, which might sound a long way away at the moment, but the date can creep up on you very quickly, so be ready!!!