Been a while... | AccountingWEB

Been a while...

Since setting up my own small practice a good few years back I have never dealt with any charity accounts but Ive been approached by a contact who has gotten involved with a small local charity and they appear, on the face of it, to be getting rather fleeced by their accountants.  He has asked me if I will prepare the accounts and also take over all the bookkeeping etc.  He proposed I supply someone one day a week which should be sufficient from what I have seen and will mean the current "bookkeeper" can retire as she planned to do 3 years ago....

The charity turnover is around the £300k mark and has little to no chance of getting anywhere near £500k so wont need auditing, just an independent examination from a qualified accountant, which I meet that criteria.

So my question is, should I accept the appointment based on me not having any recent charity dealings?  They appear fairly straight forward and with the bookkeeping being done in house I cant see too many problems on that front?

Also, can anyone recommend any books that might be worth reading to get up to speed once again on charities?



Paul Scholes's picture

Sound like a good intro to the sector

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

As with any opportunity outside normal activities it's probably a case of deciding whether this sector is one you'd like to get more involved in, either from a satisfaction/challenge point of view or because you are just bored with the other stuff and need a change!. 

If not then, like me and auditing, you will need to do a lot of research and spend quite a bit of CPD just for one client.

In my case I took my first step into the 3rd Sector, as I still like to call it, for all the reasons stated above and, if I had my time again, I'd probably have most of my client base in this sector.  So yes I'd jump at this one as you are getting into it from the ground level.

As far as literature is concerned the Charity Commission Website is definately the first port of call, it's help & guidance is excellent.  In addition I also make sure I attend courses and semniars on charity accounting each year, in my case via the ACCA.

Good Luck




jpcc1 | | Permalink


Paul’s right to refer you to the Charity Commission’s website. This link:

is to the Commission’s guidance for Independent Examiners.


And this is to the S.O.R.P.:


The important things to remember are that a charity’s accounts should have a SoFA not a P&L and the Trustees’ Annual Report replaces the Directors’ Report and has to contain more information. (See the SORP).


Another, important, point to note is that although the charity may be under the audit threshold it must still have an audit if required by the governing document.


Cruncher42 | | Permalink


I would recommend getting trained as an independent examiner.  This is the official body:

Accountant South London

Independent Examiners

ACIE admin | | Permalink

Thank you for the mention Cruncher 42, but may we just clarify that ACIE (the Association of Charity Independent Examiners) is a membership association for those interested in independent examining and the small charity sector, rather than an actual 'official body'.

The website link:  is correct for anyone interested in discovering more.

ACIE does not have any training courses scheduled in 2012 as yet, though we may be running some later in the year (check the website for updates) - but we do have two conferences scheduled:

ACIE 2012 Scottish Conference, 31 August, Perth

ACIE 2012 England & Wales Conference, 9 November, Birmingham

Can we also add to the Charity Commission (England & Wales) weblinks above, that if you are working with a charity in Scotland, the regulations are different - guidance can be found at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator website:

(nb. Northern Ireland is still awaiting legislative changes - details at:



ACIE - promoting excellence in charity independent examining since 1999

Registered charity in England and Wales 1139609 and Scotland SC039066

Registered company limited by guarantee 7461134; registered in England at 4-6 Grimshaw Street, Burnley BB11 2AZ


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