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Charity sector

The charity, voluntary and non-profit sector offers accountants a wide range of professional opportunities. On this page you can access selected resources providing quick links to guidance, publications and key organisations in the sector.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Assessing and controlling nonprofit fraud risk

Nonprofit organizations can deter fraud and safeguard assets with a few properly applied controls. The author writes from a US perspective and refers to the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) framework.

The benefits of budgeting for results

Article looking at the advantages and challenges of the ‘budgeting for results’ method for not-for-profit finance teams reporting on their organisation’s success. The method gives not-for-profits and charities an opportunity to tell their stories through financial reporting and provide donors with more information on measurable outcomes.

Useful links


Charity Finance Professionals Community
The community focuses on supporting finance professionals working in or advising clients in the charity and voluntary sectors. It offers regular e-newsletters containing the latest news and updates, as well as technical helpsheets, webinars and discounts on ICAEW events.

Volunteering Community
A new community created specifically to support members who wish to provide pro bono finance services, take up a trustee position or a volunteering role with a UK charity or not-for-profit organisation. It provides regular e-newsletters covering latest developments and volunteering opportunities, access to trustee training modules and professional liability insurance for pro bono activities with UK charities and not-for-profits.

Charity trustee
Guidance and resources for charity trustees, including information about fundraising, law and regulation, and financial management.

ICAEW Volunteers
Website for jobs in the charity sector, created by ICAEW and CABA following Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006. The review concluded charities “struggle to find trustees with specialist skills” and “many also need the managerial skills business can provide.” The website enables charities and volunteers to share role postings and profiles for free.

We maintain separate guides to:

Charity Commission publications

Setting up and running a charity
Large collection of guides published by the Charity Commission, with sections on:

  • Charity money, tax and accounts
  • Fundraising
  • Managing your charity
  • Setting up a charity
  • Staff and volunteers
  • Trustee role and board
  • Your charity's board

Accounts monitoring review
The Commission looks at common deficiencies in charity accounting records, identifies trends and offers lessons for charity reporting. Published in September 2018.


Charity Governance Code
Guidance produced by an independent steering group with support from the Charity Commission, setting principles and best practice to help trustees aim for the highest standards of governance.

Charities in Scotland
How charities in Scotland are regulated and the legal framework they operate in.

Charity Governance Review 2016
Grant Thornton’s charity governance review covers the disclosures made in the Trustees' reports of the top 100 charities in England and Wales. The report provides some practical advice on how to disclose good governance and how the top 100 charities' governance and disclosures compare to FTSE 350 companies.

The benefits of trusteeship
Report from New Philanthropy Capital published in March 2012 which is designed for people interested in trusteeship and aims to raise awareness of the opportunities that trusteeship offers. It includes case studies on the role of trustees from the viewpoints of the individual, charities and companies.

ICSA resources
ICSA guidance for the not-for-profit sector is available to logged-in ICSA members on their website, including guidance notes on:

  • model job descriptions for chair of the board, charity trustees, trustee secretary, trustee treasurer
  • trustee code of conduct
  • model letter to be sent to a trustee of an incorporated or unincorporated charity on appointment
  • model checklist for charity secretaries in companies limited by guarantee
  • model conflict of interest policy
  • model declaration of interest form
  • model register of interests
  • specimen induction pack for trustees

Some of the guidance notes are available for non-ICSA members to download following free registration on the ICSA website. 

Retention of accounting records
Checklist updated by Buzzacott listing required retention periods for a wide range of documents.

Other resources

Charity Tax Map
Online tool from the Charity Tax Group, helping charities to understand which reliefs, taxes and compliance requirements which apply to them.

GetLegal decision tool
A free decision tool from Bates Wells Braithwaite to help with setting up a charity or social enterprise. The tool uses a short series of questions to provide an indicator of an appropriate legal form for the new organisation. 

Legal structures for community groups and not-for-profit organisations
Information from the Resource Centre charity in Brighton on what to consider when choosing a legal structure for a not-for-profit organisation.

Made simple guides
Audit consultancy firm Sayer Vincent publishes a series of practical guides covering a wide range of topics relevant to charities, particularly their retail outlets.

An information portal for voluntary and community organisations that provides news and guidance across all elements of voluntary organisations from administration to human resources.


Association of Charitable Foundations
Support organisation for grant-making trusts and foundations. The site includes a publications catalogue, guidelines for funders, an A-Z of trusts and helpsheets on how to apply for grants.

Association of Charity Independent Examiners
Body representing independent examiners with information about the role of the organisation, membership and independent examination.

Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Sectors (ACEVO)
The 'only professional organisation in the third sector that is dedicated to chief executives'. The website provides details of ACEVO publications and events.

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)
News, information and links to CAF websites supporting charities and charitable giving. Includes links to country-specific charity support services provided by the CAF.

Charity Finance Group
Specialist organisation which helps charities to manage their finance functions. Membership benefits include special interest groups, forums, free helplines, example documents and good practice guidance. Some Small Charity Finance Support resources are freely available on their website, including a Small Charities Guide to Preventing Fraud and a Counter Fraud Checklist

Charity Law Association
A membership organisation which exists to support those concerned with charity law by acting as a forum for exchange of ideas and experience. The site contains model documents, working party documentation and a member's forum.

Charity Tax Group
Charity Tax Group (CTG) is a membership organisation representing charitable organisations on issues relating to the taxation of charities. Formerly known as the Charities' Tax Reform Group.

Government Funding
Online portal to grants for the voluntary and community sector from a number of UK government departments. The site provides a grant search facility and news updates, along with a range of help and advice on grant applications and sources of funding.

Institute of Fundraising
A professional body for fundraisers which promotes good fundraising practice. The website provides advice on fundraising and information on the self-regulation of the profession.

Institute of Risk Management - Charities Special Interest Group
The group offers information and seminars on risk management for the charity sector.

National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
NAVCA acts as a voice for the third sector nationally, and aims to promote the sector. The site contains a publications section with links to annual reports and monthly bulletins and information on funding resources, governance and salary scales and allowances.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
The umbrella body for voluntary organisations in England, providing voluntary sector information and briefing papers on topics from legal issues to trustees.

National Housing Federation
The representative body for not-for-profit housing associations in England. The site offers resources such as housing bill bulletins, factsheets and consultation documents.

Small Charities Coalition
An information provider to support small charities in the UK.

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
Body which represents and campaigns for voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities in Wales.


Charity Choice UK
An online encyclopaedia of UK charities on the internet, with over 10,000 charities and organisations listed.

Directory of Social Change
Publisher of the Company Giving database of company support available to voluntary and community organisations.

A free public US database of non-profit organisations, with details of 1m American charitable non-profit organizations.

Register of Charities
Search for charities by keyword, classification, income range or other criteria on the UK Charity Commission's website. The register also provides access to downloadable annual reports or annual accounts for many charities.

Magazines and bulletins

Charity Finance
Monthly magazine for charity sector professionals.

Economic Outlook Briefing
Quarterly bulletin produced by the CFG focusing on economic trends and their impact on the charity sector.

Magazine addressing governance issues aimed at charity trustees, chief executives and company secretaries.

Weekly magazine covering the voluntary and not-for-profit sector.

Articles, books and model documents in the Library collection

The ICAEW Library & Information Service includes a collection of charity sector articles, books and model documents that can support your work. 

Model documents

We can supply a variety of model documents for charities, including example engagement letters, model accounts and job descriptions, through our document supply service.

Preparing charity accounts, 2019-20

H.Wilkinson (Wolters Kluwer, 2019, 373 pages)
A one-stop reference guide to preparing accounts under FRS 102 and the FRS 102 Charities SORP, whatever the size of the charity. Includes model hospice accounts and a disclosure checklist for a charity reporting under FRS 102.
Request this book

How to run a charity
C.Gillard (ICSA, 2017, 188 pages)
Appendices contain example role descriptions for a charity trustee, chairman, treasurer, secretary of a charitable company and secretary of an unincorporated membership charity. Available as an eBook for logged-in ICAEW members. 

Selected books

Charity administration handbook
D.Bawtree (Bloomsbury Professional, 2018, 956 pages)
An essential reference work for charity administrators and their professional advisers, revised to take account of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016, the updated and revised Charities SORP and the new charity governance code. 
Request this book

Charity checklists

C.Gillard (ICSA, 2019, 330 pages) 
A handy quick-reference guide to the more common legal and administrative procedures charities may have to deal with. The checklists are a guide to important matters to consider, outlining procedural steps that may need to be taken. 
Request this book

Charity handbook
K.Semple (ICSA, 2019, 507 pages)
This book covers material on the key areas of charity law, governance and compliance, including legal forms and structures and data protection and GDPR.
Request this book

Charity law and governance: a practical guide
C.Gillard (ICSA Publishing, 2018, 232 pages)
Guidance on the legal and regulatory framework within which charities in England and Wales operate.
Request this book

Taxation of charities and nonprofit organisations, 2019-2020
J.Kessler (Key Haven, 2019, 1508 pages)
A comprehensive multi-volume work. 
Request this book

Further titles

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you are looking for?

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