Transparency data

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

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


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

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Our register includes nearly 104,000 small charities, those with incomes below £25,000. All registered charities must produce both a trustees’ annual report and accounts and make them publicly available, but small charities are not required to file these documents with us (except for Charitable Incorporated Organisations).

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.

We contacted the trustees of a sample of 110 small charities to obtain their trustees’ annual report and accounts from them. Our latest study found that nearly two thirds of the charities provided sets of accounts that contained basic information on their charitable activities and how the trustees had used the charity’s money.

However, many trustees of small charities remain unaware of their legal duty to prepare a trustees’ annual report and accounts, with a quarter of the charities providing either just one of the two required documents or none at all.

Published 3 September 2018