Charity Commission for Northern Ireland sets out guidance on new accounting rules

Registered charities will have to begin submitting accounts to the regulator from next year

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published accounting and reporting guidance to help charities operating in the region to comply with new rules that came into force in January.

Under the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly last year, all registered charities in Northern Ireland will be required to submit accounts to the regulator within 10 months of the end of their first complete financial year beginning on or after 1 January 2016.

The legislation was part of a phased introduction of annual reporting which followed the introduction of charity registration in December 2013.

As part of the legislation, charities must have their accounts scrutinised independently before they are submitted.

Frances McCandless, chief executive of the CCNI, said the move was not about increasing red tape but instead would provide "a meaningful way for charities to be more open and accountable" to beneficiaries, funders, supporters and the wider public.

"Under the law, all registered charities must report annually to the commission on their activities, governance and resources," she said.

"This is a new development, and for many charities will be the first time they are required to report annually to a regulator as well as the first time their accounts and reports will be made public.

"That’s why our accounting and reporting guidance is so important - it will help guide charities to submit accounts and reports within deadline, and in the right format."

She said charities would be able to use their annual reports and accounts, which will be published on the charity’s register entry, as an opportunity to highlight their achievements.

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