skip to main content
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
Text size:

New accounting and reporting guidance for charities published

New guidance, which aims to support charities in meeting their annual reporting duties, has been published today by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The guidance is available to read or download in the Annual reporting section of the Commission’s website here.

"Under the law, all registered charities must report annually to the Commission on their activities, governance and resources," explained Frances McCandless, Commission Chief Executive.

She continued: "This is a new development, and for many charities will be the first time they are required to report annually to a regulator as well as the first time their accounts and reports will be made public.

"That’s why our accounting and reporting guidance is so important - it will help guide charities to submit accounts and reports within deadline, and in the right format."

Compulsory annual reporting by registered charities has been introduced into Northern Ireland on a phased basis, following the commencement of charity registration in December 2013.

The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which commenced on 1 January 2016, mark the final phase of annual reporting and apply to registered charities with financial years beginning on or after this date.

Ms McCandless continued: "Annual reporting isn’t about increasing red tape, rather it is about providing a meaningful way for charities to be more open and accountable to their beneficiaries, funders, supporters and the wider public.

"For example, under the new regulations all registered charities must produce a trustees’ annual report, which is an opportunity to highlight their achievements and reflect on challenges.

"All accounts and reports submitted under annual reporting are published on the charity’s register entry, opening accounts and reports up to public scrutiny as well as supporting the Commission’s compliance work."

In addition to publishing a suite of accounting and reporting guidance for registered charities, the Commission has also finalised and published new Directions for Independent Examiners.

Under the new regulations, all registered charities in Northern Ireland must have an external scrutiny of their accounts, namely an audit or, for smaller charities, an independent examination.

An independent examination provides an external check on a charity’s accounts, with the twelve Directions detailing what, under the law, examiners must do when reviewing charity accounts.

To view the guidance and the Directions for Independent Examiners in full please visit our Annual reporting section.


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email:

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 Communities.

The Commission ran a public consultation on a draft version of the accounting and reporting guidance between December 2015 and 11 March 2016.

Following this consultation, the Commission collated and analysed the responses it received, publishing a consultation report in June 2016, followed by the final version of the guidance in July 2016.