The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has added the first charities to its register.
A test group of 14 charities have become the first to join the register from today, when compulsory registration for charitable organisations in Northern Ireland officially begins.
CCNI estimates that there are between 7,000 and 12,000 organisations that will need to be registered and the process will take between three and four years to complete.
The regulator said that it will call charities forward in tranches be added to the register and has published a list of 174 organisations that it is calling forward in the first group. The next group is expected to be published in early 2014.
It said organisations should check the CCNI website to see if they are listed in a forthcoming tranche so they know when to apply.
Charities in Northern Ireland were previously only regulated for tax purposes by HM Revenue & Customs.
Tom McGrath, chief commissioner at the CCNI, said: "The beginning of registration marks a sea change in the regulation of charities in Northern Ireland, a move towards greater transparency, openness and accountability.
"Once the register is complete, anyone, anywhere in the world will be able to go online to check that a charity in Northern Ireland is just that – a bona fide and accountable charity."
The first 14 charities on the register include Lagan Valley Rural Transport and the umbrella body the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action.