Sorp 'does huge damage to the smaller charities'

Charities are still having difficulty adjusting to the requirements of the 2005 Sorp, according to some accountants.

"The regulations do nothing to help charities, particularly smaller ones," said Richard Reeves, a retired chartered accountant and treasurer for a Methodist Church circuit that includes 17 parishes.

"For the little old ladies and retired gentlemen who have been involved for a long time in trusteeship, this need to fill in forms and understand accounting is just not helpful.

"Two of our churches now have no treasurer because no one will do it.

The whole parlance of the Sorp is in terms the Charity Commission has decided rather than what is best for charities. It is doing huge damage."

Nick Brooks, head of not-for-profit at accountancy firm Kingston Smith, said that charities could be creating unnecessary work for themselves by misinterpreting Sorp guidelines.

"Charities tend to write too much in their trustees' reports," he said.

"They should work out who is actually going to read it, then monitor the effort that goes into producing it."

Citing Help the Aged's trustee report, which is 57 pages long, Brooks said: "It would be better if charities wrote a summary of what they are doing."

Reeves and Brooks were talking to Third Sector at the Charities and Associations Exhibition this month.

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