The Charity Commission is inviting you to discuss the potential for digital reporting. The regulator wants to explore the difficulties, barriers and constraints of existing methods of accounts preparation and filing, along with any perceived benefits or pitfalls of its proposed approaches.
How can you help?
The Commission has prepared a short survey you are invited to respond to. There are two versions available, please select the one that is relevant to your charity:
Complete this survey if you a charitable company
Complete this survey if you are an unincorporated charity or CIO
In addition, the Commission would like to invite a group of charities to attend some workshops with us that are being arranged for Thursday 16/Friday 17 or Thursday 23/Friday 24 March.
If you would like to take part, please respond to the Commission's research team via email with your contact information, name of your organisation and the session you would like to attend.
Currently, the Commission can only accept financial accounts that are filed as PDF or Word and Excel attachments which are then converted to PDF for display. The information within PDF accounts is not easily accessible and results in some duplication of effort for filers to rekey certain information in the Annual Return.
There are three potential routes to improving the collection of financial data that the Commission would like to explore:
- Accessing digital accounts data from other regulators such as Companies House. Moving towards the vision of having single, accessible and transferable data sets and reducing the need for charities to file more than once.
- Developing web-based accounts templates, for receipts and payments and accruals accounts for unincorporated charities and CIOs, making it easier and more straightforward for charities to share information.
- Enable charities to file digital accounts data directly with the Commission, using their own accounts preparation software where they already have the capability to do so.
As part of its exploration, the Charity Commission is working with digital reporting specialist CoreFiling to conduct workshops and surveys with consumers, preparers of accounts and other stakeholders.
In 2021, the Commission set out to comprehensively review the data it collects. The regulator wants to ensure that as the primary source of information about charities, the data it collects is necessary, relevant, and proportionate and that what is shared is reliable and useful.
The purpose of this work includes, but is not limited to, the provision of information that can:
- Enable the Commission to secure the data it needs to regulate proactively and effectively
- Help Government, policymakers and stakeholders to support the sector to thrive
- Increase transparency about the sector and therefore public trust and confidence in charity
The review identified the potential of collecting better structured, digitised, financial data from charities.
For more information, please email the Commission or email the CFG Policy team.
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