Still 'miles to go' on accounts, says OSCR

Scottish regulator's survey shows marked improvement but indicates that more still needs to be done

The quality of the accounts submitted by small Scottish charities is improving, but they still fall far short of requirements, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The OSCR has carried out a survey of accounts submitted by the same 150 charities with annual incomes of less than £25,000 in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In 2009, four-fifths of the charities filed annual reports, compared with one third in 2007. The quality of the reports has also improved, but more than half are still failing to submit financial overviews.

Fewer charities are using old-fashioned accounting formats, but one-sixth of accounts still fail to show total income, expenditure and surplus or deficits. Half still fail to distinguish between restricted and unrestricted funds.

Nearly all small charities now have some form of external scrutiny of their accounts, compared with just a third in 2007. But more than a third of external scrutiny reports still fail to meet legal standards, according to the OSCR.

The recently published report says the situation can be summed up in the phrase "miles better, miles to go".


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