Have your say on new accounting and reporting guidance
With the introduction of new annual reporting regulations set to impact on every registered charity in Northern Ireland, the charity regulator is calling on the public to share their views on its draft accounting and reporting guidance.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland’s new guidance is aimed at supporting charities in understanding their duties under new annual reporting regulations, which are set to go live on 1 January 2016.
However, the guidance is currently at draft stage only with the Commission throwing the documentation open for review, allowing anyone who is interested to share their views before the guidance is finalised.
The Commission is also seeking views on new, draft Directions for Independent Examiners, which examiners must follow when reviewing charity accounts.
Fiona Muldoon, Monitoring and Compliance Manager at the Commission, explained: “The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which will commence on 1 January 2016, apply to registered charities with financial years beginning on or after this date.
“The new law sets out the format and content requirements for charity accounts and reports and all registered charities must submit these documents to the Commission on an annual basis.
“Our guidance will be a vital tool for charities, helping to guide and advise them, and that’s why it is so important we get it right - that our guidance is clear, accessible and meets the needs of those who use it.”
One of the ways the Commission hopes to achieve that is by calling on the public to review the draft guidance and share their feedback before it is finalised and published next year.
The Commission’s accounting and reporting guidance consultation opened at 9am on Friday 18 December 2015 and will close at 5pm on Friday 11 March 2016.
For more information on the consultation, including how you can take part, click here.
The implementation of the full annual reporting regulations, produced by the Department for Social Development, are phase two of the introduction of annual reporting for registered charities in Northern Ireland.
The full regulations will go live on 1 January 2016 and all registered charities with financial years beginning on or after this date, or their date of registration with the Commission, if later, are under a legal duty to comply with the new regulations.
Phase one - the current interim reporting requirements programme for registered charities, applies to financial years beginning before 1 January 2016 - and will remain in place for a transitionary period.
Ms Muldoon added: “Annual reporting isn’t about increasing red tape, but to provide a meaningful way for charities to be more open and accountable to their funders, their supporters and to the wider public.
“Annual reporting is also a key way for the Commission to regulate charities, to keep the register of charities up to date and, on the occasion where a charity may not be meeting its duties, to step in and take action to set things right.
“The first step is to ensure our guidance is clear, accessible and comprehensive so I would encourage anyone interested to read our draft guidance and let us know what you think.”
For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Social Development.
The Commission’s consultation on its draft accounting and reporting guidance will close at 5pm on Friday 11 March 2016. Following this the Commission will collate and analyse the responses it has received, publishing a consultation report and a final version of the guidance later in 2016.
The Commission’s consultation is on the draft guidance only and the Commission is unable to change the regulations, which have been consulted on and developed by the Department for Social Development.