Checklist: filing accounts on time

Governance expert Lynn Cadman advises on how charities can avoid missing the deadline for filing their annual accounts

Lynn Cadman says there's no excuse for filing late
Lynn Cadman says there's no excuse for filing late

It's March, and many charities are approaching their financial year-ends, so it's good to be reminded of the importance of filing on time.

All charities must keep accounting records, prepare annual accounts and make them available to the public on request. If the charity is registered, trustees must also produce an annual report.

The clock ticks for 10 months from the end of a charity's financial year until its documents must be filed with the Charity Commission. What to include, the type of accounts to prepare - if any - and the external scrutiny required all depend on the charity's size and legal structure. The commission provides guidance, including template annual reports and other useful information.

Presenting accounts to members is a step many charities take, but this can be done after filing, reducing the risk of missing the deadline.

There's no excuse for filing late, and late filers are highlighted in red on the register - something that can act as a red rag to potential donors and funders!

A well-presented annual report is a mine of information and a key tool for marketing the charity.

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