Regulation with Rosie: Where to get free advice

The Charity Commission's Rosie Chapman on where to get free advice.

I can't tell the difference between bottled water and tap water in restaurants, but some people seem happy to pay up to a tenner for the bottled stuff. But why pay when you can get it for free with some ice cubes and a slice of lemon thrown in?

Similarly, I wonder if smaller charities with incomes of less than £500,000 take advantage of the free resources available to them when it comes to preparing their accounts and reports. In England and Wales, small charities should visit our website,, and in Scotland they should consult the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator's website,, to find out what's on offer. With more than 160,000 charities having incomes of less than £500,000, a lot of time and money could be saved.

We offer a receipts and payments accounts pack, complete with pro-forma report, accounts and examiner's report. Bear in mind that a charity preparing receipts and payments accounts does not need to follow the statement of recommended practice as long as its gross income is less than £100,000 and it is not a company registered with Companies House.

For charities preparing accounts on an accruals basis, the Sorp remains the key reference manual. The second edition of Sorp 2005 was published this May, updated to take into account legislative changes and with an introduction written with smaller charities in mind. There is also an accruals pack for small charities and guidance on what's required from each size of charity. These resources are comprehensive, available online and, of course, free of charge. Rosie Chapman is executive director of policy and effectiveness at the commission.

 - Rosie Chapman is executive director of policy and effectiveness at the commission

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