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Accounting for charities

Accounting for charities and the not-for-profit sector is a specialist area that requires expertise and an understanding of the industry. On this page you can access a range of articles, books and online resources providing quick links to practical guidance and background knowledge.

We also have a separate page on the Charities SORP.

What's on this page?

  • eBooks 
  • Useful links
  • Online articles
  • Books and articles from the library

Contact the Library

Expert help for your enquiries and research.

E  library@icaew.com

T  +44 (0)20 7920 8620

eBooks

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.

Accounting and business valuation methods: how to interpret IFRS accounts

The author offers a detailed guide to the different methods of ascertaining the value of a business, taking into account the move away from UK GAAP towards IFRS. The book incorporates the story of a start-up business from initial conception to final acquisition, including risk assessment and company valuation. Along the way learn about double-entry book-keeping and how to prepare a trial balance, profit and loss accounts, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

Accounts demystified

A guide to accounting which explains the major accounting concepts in a simple and easy to understand way. Includes company accounts, balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and cash flow systems. Also looks at how to analyse and monitor a company's financial performance.

Charity law and governance: a practical guide

Guidance on the legal and regulatory framework within which both registered and unregistered charities in England and Wales operate. This title looks at the meaning of governance in the charity sector and the link between law, good governance and the role of trustees in the stewardship of charitable funds and assets. Title has been revised to cover the latest developments in charity law and governance, including the 2015 Charities SORP and The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

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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.

Useful links

ICAEW

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. 

Register of award holders (DChA)
A directory of finance professionals who have been awarded the Diploma in Charity Accounting. The directory is searchable by name, location and organisation.

Financial Reporting Council (FRC)

The Audit and Assurance team of the FRC sets the principles and procedures that external auditors in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are required to follow. The FRC has published a range of guidance relating to charities, including:

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission is responsible for setting the Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice, along with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

Charity money, tax and accounts
Essential information on preparing charity annual returns, accounts and trustees' annual reports collected in one place. The listed resources include introductory guides, example accounts, document templates and technical guidance for auditors, trustees and those managing charity finances.

Accounts monitoring review: Assessing the standard of charity financial information
Review by the Charity Commission published in September 2018 analysing charities' income, expenditure, balance sheet and funds against accounts. The review identifes common deficiencies and trends in charity accounting records, with actions taken by the commission and lessons for charities. The 2017 Accounts monitoring review is also available.

Example trustees' annual reports and accounts for charities
Model documents showing the format of trustees' annual reports and accounts for a variety of different types of charity. The examples include a school, church council, unincorporated association, mosque and community centre, company charity and theatre and arts centre.

Independent examination of charity accounts: Examiners
Guidance and checklist for independent examiners explaining their duties and what must be included in reports to charity trustees accompanying the accounts.

Register of charities
Search for charities by keyword, classification, income range or other criteria. The register also provides access to downloadable annual reports or annual accounts for many charities, historical data and a top 50 ranking of charities by income, spending, growth and other criteria.

Community Accounting Network

The Community Accounting Network is a specialist interest group within the Charity Finance Group (CFG). It provides a central list of community accounting services across the UK, which offer free or heavily subsidised accountancy services to charities. The network also offers a series of guidance notes on accounting for charities.

CIPFA

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy's Charities and Social Enterprises Panel produces a number of publications on the sector.

Understanding reports on charity financial statements
Guidance published in December 2010 covering types of financial statements and reports, with explanations and examples of audit and independent examination reports. Archived by the Charity Finance Group.

HMRC

HMRC produces many resources on charities and tax, including a set of detailed guidance notes and information on Gift Aid and the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is an independent body responsible for setting the Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice, alongside the Charity Commission.

The regulator maintains guidance on charity accounting in Scotland, including example accounts and an online version of Scottish Charity Accounts: An updated guide to the 2006 Regulations:

Other guidance

Made Simple guides
A series of guides produced by the audit firm Sayer Vincent on topics for charities, including charity shops, Gift Aid, reading charity accounts, tax for charity fundraisers and VAT.

Retention of Accounting Records
The firm Buzzacott has compiled a table showing suggested retention periods for the most commonly held documents alongside explanatory notes. Published in August 2015.

Other organisations

Charity Finance Group
Specialist organisation (previously the Charity Finance Directors' Group), which assists charities to manage their finance functions. The website contains details of membership and abstracts of information sheets for the charities sector.

Charity Tax Group (CTG)
A non-profit membership organisation previously known as the Charities' Tax Reform Group, which makes representations to government on issues relating to the taxation of charities. The site includes details of its campaign priorities and information on membership.

Charities Internal Audit Network (CIAN)
Supported by the Charity Commission and the Institute of Internal Auditors UK and Ireland, the aim of CIAN is to assist its members in the voluntary sector. CIAN offers a forum, latest news, training opportunities and a special interest groups section.

Management Accounting For Non Governmental Organisations (MANGO)
Charity specialising in providing accounting and financial management services to relief operations. The site provides accounting information and tools with resources for download that include a Standard Field Office Accounting System, accounting spreadsheets and a set of standard accounting principles.

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.

Articles are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

Articles and books in the Library collection

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?

If you're having trouble finding the information you need, ask the Library & Information Service. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com.

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