Hold fire on accounts threshold, commission urged

The Association of Charity Independent Examiners has urged the Charity Commission to postpone plans to raise the income threshold under which charities are allowed to use receipts and payments accounts - the simplest form of accounts, used by small, non-company charities.

The commission is awaiting ministerial approval for the increase in the threshold from £100,000 to £250,000, which would cover an extra 12,000 charities. But the ACIE said that any move to a higher threshold should be delayed until there is more guidance and regulation available.

The association's comments were prompted by a report from Sheffield Hallam University showing that funders, accountants and independent examiners had "serious concerns" about R&P accounts and wanted all charities to move on to Sorp-based accounts, currently used by larger charities.

"Too many charities are able to deliberately or accidentally distort the appearance of their accounts," said Fiona Gordon, chief executive of ACIE.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: "We recognise differing views exist, but there was a small majority in favour of an increase in the threshold. For many charities, the opportunity to produce accounts in a simpler, less expensive format will be welcomed."

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