Transparency data

Accounts monitoring: charities annual reports and accounts meeting the reader’s needs

Charity Commission report on the quality of charity accounts and if they meet reader's needs


Accounts monitoring review: Do charity annual reports and accounts meet the reader’s needs?

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Our register includes nearly 64,000 charities with incomes over £25,000. All charities of this size must produce a trustees’ annual report and accounts and arrange for them to be audited or independently examined.

They must also file these documents with us. The purpose of the trustees’ annual report and accounts is to tell the reader what the charity is set up to do, what it achieved and how it spent its money.

Our latest study found that nearly three quarters of a sample of 106 sets of charity accounts filed with us provided basic information on charitable activities. They showed how the trustees had used the charity’s money and included either an audit or independent examination report.

However, as in the previous two years, a quarter of charities failed to provide this basic information and fell well short of the standard the public has every right to expect. The most common single reason why a set of accounts failed to meet our basic standard was that the trustees’ annual report did not explain the activities that the charity had carried out to help its beneficiaries.

Published 3 September 2018