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Updated guidance on charity accounting

24 Apr 2019

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has updated its guidance on the legal requirements for preparing charity accounts and getting those accounts externally scrutinised. The legal requirements have not changed but the updated guidance aims to help charity trustees better understand the requirements. All of a charity's trustees are responsible for the preparation of the charity's accounts, even if they are not accountants or financial experts. So it's important that the guidance is accessible to all trustees.

Before you begin to prepare your charity's accounts, you should read A Guide to Charity Accounts. This guide explains the type of accounts that your charity should prepare and the kind of external scrutiny of the accounts that is required.

In addition to this, there are also two new guides for independent examination, one aimed at trustees and the other at Independent Examiners:

Although the rules around charity accounting have not fundamentally changed, we have updated our guidance so it is presented in a clearer format. The development of a guide about independent examination specifically aimed at charity trustees is a clear demonstration of our commitment to communicate directly to trustees in a more straightforward way.

OSCR's Head of Professional Advice and Intelligence Laura Anderson said,

'Getting accounting right is a vital task for charities as the annual report and accounts that each charity is required to prepare plays a huge part in public trust.

'This guidance gives an overview of the law and provides essential information regarding charities' accounts.

'It is relevant to all charities. Trustees must make sure that whoever is dealing with their accounts knows the information but trustees also need to have a basic understanding.

'We've worked with experts throughout the sector to help and make the guidance as easy to understand as possible. The language is clear, and we've highlighted further sources of help and advice should you need it.'


Notes to editors

  • The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a Non-Ministerial Department and part of the Scottish Administration following commencement of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.
  • Some charities will also have to prepare accounts in line with other legislation and regulations. For these charities the guidance will need to be read alongside the other legislation or regulations that are specific to them.
  • Under statutory requirements, the accounts of Scottish charities must be externally scrutinised. That is, someone who is independent of the charity has reviewed the accounts and produced a report, attached to the accounts, that highlights any issues to the reader.