FM ManagingTheMoneyME23

This series of leaflets explains how "ordinary" volunteer Trustees without any special financial expertise, can set up their small charity accounts to be easy and understandable to all.   The intention is to enable them to manage and report their charity's finances in ways that matter to them, and their charities' donors, WITHOUT requiring them (or even the Treasurer) to be professional accountants.

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EconomicsBooks

The leaflets have been inspired by the 1970s (but even more relevant today) iconic book [►], Small is Beautiful:  Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F.Schumacher, and the more recent (2017) Doughnut Economics:  Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist [►] by Kate Raworth.

Both books review the follies of thinking that the solution to all our problems is big global market-driven, profit-hungy corporations and the financial thinking (and obfuscational accountancy practices) which go with that.   The notion that "greed and capitalism" is the solution to human/social problems [►] is not new.

The leaflets are accompanied by a downloadable spreadsheet to show how those principles can be put into practice.   And, in the process, the spreadsheet is a working demonstration - using data from "real life" small charities - of why accountancy practices designed for the commercial/capitalist sector are fundamentally not fit for purpose [▼] for the charity sector.

AccountsJargon

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 £250,000/yr, or to own property, or to employ more than 3 staff then you will probably need to seek additional professional guidance elsewhere.

The downloadable leaflets under this heading are:

Accounts ALL Small Charities MUST Keep [▼]

Typical Responsibilities & Roles of the Treasurer [▼]

Recording & Reporting Your Charity's Funds [▼]

Budgets & Cash Flows [▼]

Financial Controls CheckList [▼]

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
ALL charities, regardless of their size MUST prepare Trustees Annual Reports & Accounts (Financial Statements) and make them available to the public on reasonal request WHETHER OR NOT they are required to submit them automatically (ie: without being requested) to the Charity Commission.
   Preparing the Trustees' Annual Report [▼]
   
      An editable (Doc) template [▼]
   Preparing the Annual Accounts [▼]

   Reserves Policies [▼]

Choosing an Independent Examiner or Financial Advisor [▼]
Not all professional/qualified accountants have the required knowledge and understanding of charity accounting practices.   This leaflet provides guidance on how to find the right person.

Accounting Issues Facing Small Charities [▼]
This is not a standard Small Charity Support guidance leaflet but a PDF of the slides and accompanying speaker-notes for a webinar on the topic given by the Principal Trustee on 22-June-22 at the invitation of the Association of Charity Independent Examiners.
The webinar demonstrated how the typical non-accountant trustees can avoid common accounting issues.

 
Accounts Spreadsheet

The "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.

First devised more than 10 years ago and used by many small charities since then, the spreadsheet has, inevitably, been regularly "tweaked" and updates since then.   And in 2020 & 2021 the spreadsheet was extensively revised.

The spreadsheet is "open source" - ie: all the structure and formulae used are open and visible so that small charities and not-for-profit organisations can adapt and develop the ideas and concepts to suit their own needs.
But the spreadsheets remain the copyright of Small Charity Support under a Creative Commons Attributable – Non Commercial – Share Alike License [►].   Exploiting the spreadsheet for commercial gain is NOT permitted.

The spreadsheet comes in two versions.

[▼] Example {Better Living Charity}
This version contains real (but anonymised) data to illustrate how the spreadsheet works in practice.   {Last revised 01-Apr-22}

[▼] Blank
A 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.   This avoids the need for new users to clear away the data in the Example in order to set up their own requirements.   {Last revised 12-Feb-22}

There is also a comprehensive set of instructions showing how to set up and use the spreadsheet.

Instructions
There is also a comprehensive set of instructions
on how to set up and use the spreadsheet, all illustrated with screen shots:

[▼] Introduction:   An overview of what the spreadsheet does;

[▼] Setting Up:  How to configure the blank worksheet to meet the needs of your charity;

[▼] Data Entry & Analysis:  How to enter transactions data into the spreadsheet, amend the data when necessary, and produce both in-built standad financial monitoring & management reports (eg: Budget & Cash-Flow) and how to use facilities like Sorting & Filtering to produce your own ad hoc reports;

[▼] End-of-Year Operations:  How to re-set the spreadsheet for use in the next financial period.

Note that the instructions are still being updated to include the most recent additions (eg: the facility to do simple stock monitoring for charities which have a small shop).   But as the changes are mostly related to improving the robustness of the formulae they make very little difference to the way that the spreadsheet functions in practice.   It is hoped that updated instructions will be available soon.

Both spreadsheets have been created using Microsoft Office 365(R) but appear to work satisfactorily in other compatible software, eg: LibreOfficeCalc(R).   But please note:  The on-line/web version of MS-Excel DOES NOT interpret the formulae correctly and so cannot be used to run this spreadsheet.

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.

 

Comments from a user
......The Small Charity Support multi-tab spreadsheet appealed to me.   It was intuitively simple while carrying data around its tabs so that it only had to be entered once.   Errors could therefore be reduced.   It took a short while to understand the places where data could be entered and modified and where formulae lurked behind to make this unwise.   Yet it had the flexibility to name and assemble category lines to represent our own operation.....

Your comments - PLEASE

Do let us have your comments on the spreadsheet - you can e-mail them to SAfSC@smallcharitysupport.uk   Compliments, queries, criticisms, brickbats (so long as they are constructive) are all welcomed.   If we are doing things right, that's good and encouraging to know so that we can try to do more.   But if we're doing things badly we need to know about that, too, so that we either put it right or stop doing it to avoid harming others.

 

lawyer
Please read our Legal Notice [►]

 

 Intellectual Property and Copyrights
Crown copyright acknowledged where appropriate.

All the other materials on this website are the intellectual property and copyright of Small Charity Support
under a Creative Commons  Attributable – Non Commercial – Share Alike  License
.
CC Copyright
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.