"Simple is Beautiful" is a series of leaflets explaining how "ordinary" volunteer Trustees, without any special financial expertise, can set up their small charity accounts to be easy and understandable to all.
And in a way that does NOT require them (or even the Treasurer) to be professional accountants.
AND the leaflets are accompanied by a downloadable spreadsheet to show how they can be put into practice.
The title has been inspired by the 1960s (but even more relevant today) iconic book, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F.Schumacher.
Click on the leaflet titles (below) to open them as downloadable PDF files.
The leaflets are NOT a full and comprehensive guide to Charity Law and all the associated regulations. They are just an overview, in simple everyday language (rather than legalistic/accountancy jargon) of the main points for those who want to run their small charity efficiently and effectively, or to help trustees who have encountered one of the many common difficulties.
So if you are expecting your charity’s annual income to be more than £150,000/yr, or to own property, or to employ more than 3 staff then you will probably need to seek additional professional guidance elsewhere.
The topics covered in this series are:
The Role of the Charity Treasurer (and assistants) (Also on the "Starting a Charity" page)
A Bank Account
Originally written for new charities being set up, this leaflet may also be useful to existing charities wanting to review their banking services.
Preparing the Trustees' Annual Report & Accounts
a: Guidance Notes
b: Blank Template (MS-Word format)
c: Appendix: Review of the Charity Commission's WestbeachYC Example
Note: The Appendix is very critical of the Charity Commission's example. It has was sent to the Commission for its comments. On 4 December 2018 the Commission replied as follows:
"The Westbeach Youth Club model trustees' annual report and accounts is one of a series of examples produced some years ago to help trustees preparing sets of accounts under SORP 2005. Whilst these examples are now out of date, because SORP 2005 has now been replaced and other guidance updated, we have left the examples on the website for the time being to assist the trustees of charities that are in default to make good. In this context, I note your concerns about how helpful the Westbeach Youth Club example is in practice.
You will have seen that our website has links to more up to date model sets of accounts than the Westbeach Youth Club example, based on the FRS 102 and FRSSE SORPs. However, as you will appreciate, these examples are not aimed at preparers of receipts and payments accounts. We will therefore produce a new model trustees' annual report and accounts for charities preparing receipts and payments accounts, based on our current templates and guidance, to replace the Westbeach Youth Club example."
The Appendix will be withdrawn when the WestbeachYC example has been replaced by the Charity Commission.
Simple Accounts Spreadsheet
The "Simple Accounts Spreadsheet" referred to in the leaflets above can be downloaded (click on the links below) so that you can see if it might be suitable for your charity. If you think they might be useful you are welcome to save them to your own computer(s).
The spreadsheet comes in two versions:
(1) an Example version, containing real (but anonymised) data to illustrate how the spreadsheet works in practice;
(2) a Blank version, in which there are no transactions data and none of the categories have been set (other than the main headings suggested by the Charity Commission) to avoid the need for new users to clear away existing data in order to set up their own requirements.
There is also a comprehensive guide showing how to set up and use the spreadsheet.
Version without any data
Version with data to experiment with
48-page guide, illustrated with screen shots, on how to set up and use the spreadsheet
Both spreadsheets have been created using Microsoft Office 365(R) but appear to work satisfactorily in other software, eg: LibraOfficeCalc(R).
To use the spreadsheet you'll need to be rather more than a spreadsheet novice - ie: you'll need to have a reasonable understanding of how formulae work, copying & pasting, etc. But you won't need to be an expert.
Intellectual Property and Copyrights
Crown Copyright Acknowledged.
All the other materials on this website are the intellectual property and copyright of Small Charity Support. All Small Charity Support's services & materials are made available free of charge & royalties for use by bona fide small charities & not-for-profit community organisations.
Use of the materials, directly or modified, for commercial or other for-profit purposes is NOT permitted.