Freddie Starr ate my… charity accounts!

Watch out charity workers and trustees; the Charity Commission are on the look out for any late, incorrect or missing submissions of charity accounts.

lady biting financial paperwork

In a press release on 26 December the Commission say there are “No excuses for not filing accounts”.

The press release can be found here;  
The highlights are:

* Nearly one-third of charities’ accounts filed of ‘unacceptable quality’.
* Campaign to launch in January targeting charities in default.
* Filing accounts is key to transparency and public trust in charities.

All charities with income over £25,000 are required to submit accounts.
32% of accounts submitted were not of ‘adequate quality’  based on a random sample.
The commission advises trustees follow 3 easy steps:

-          do not wait until you approach the 10 month deadline; when you have the documents, submit them

-          ensure you have a password to access the commission’s online services or ensure that you know who within the charity has the password

-          know that submission is the collective responsibility of the entire trustee body, not just the treasurer or secretary 

William Shawcross, chairman of the commission said: Although these excuses are amusing, there is a serious point – after a difficult year for charities, it is essential they do all they can to be open about their finances. I hope trustees take note and file their accounts. If not, they could be hearing from the commission soon.

If you need help in putting together the accounts for your charity please contact WYCAS – we are a charity who aim to help you do precisely this. Tel 0113 2706269; Email

So, now for the funny bit: a sample of excuses received by the commission for not filing their accounts include:
I cannot file my accounts because…
> I don’t have internet access
> Your website was closed
> I’m only a volunteer
> Joe does this, it is not my job
> The person with the password is in Malaysia
> The person with the password is in New York and isn’t contactable because of a Hurricane
> I’m not involved with this charity’s requirements, I am a trustee
> The School provides us with office space but it’s the school holidays and they are shut
> I cannot log onto your site, what is my charity number 
> Can I log onto your site from someone else’s Computer?

> I already did it…last year
> I’m not a trustee, I’m on the committee
> My secretary schedules to file each year (on deadline day) and she is off sick
> The accounts aren’t ready so I recorded zero income and zero expenditure so we wouldn’t show as being in default on the Register
> It’s the accountants responsibility not mine
> Our computer caught fire and we lost all the financial data
> Deadline day falls on a religious holiday so we couldn’t file [sent by a multiple defaulter]
> I’m only new
> No-one told me when we registered
> You never sent me reminders
> I don’t believe in using computers 
> Computers are satanic
> Our office was broken into and the thieves made off with the financial records
!  My boot came open on the motorway and the papers went down the M1
!  The commission also received one set of incomplete accounts with bite marks

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