The Sorp Revision: Pensions

By finance expert Don Bawtree

Don Bawtree
Don Bawtree

A separate module in the proposed Sorp deals with pension accounting, but the basic requirements are unchanged for charities operating defined-contribution schemes. However, the cost is allocated across expenditure headings that might be changed as you adopt the new Sorp.

More important is the new requirement to account for those multi-employer defined-benefit schemes where the charity has not put the deficit, or surplus, into its accounts because it cannot identify its own share of assets and liabilities. There are two important changes here.

First, FRS 102 says the deficit must be shown somewhere in one of the employing entities. This might affect charities in a federation structure.

Second, there is the new requirement to book a liability where there is an agreement to fund any deficit relating to past service. This will be allocated to expenditure headings, so any changes here will add volatility above the line. It will also add a liability to many charities' balance sheets that will make many appear insolvent. This will require clear explanation in the annual report.

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