Guidance on Submitting Your Annual Report and Accounts when Applying to the Paristamen CIO for a Grant
We always ask those applying for grants to supply the full Annual Report and Accounts of the charity, and we place considerable importance on these in assessing whether we feel the organisation is well run. We expect your accounts to comply fully with the requirements of charity law as it applies to a charity with your level of income.
Charities based in England/Wales or in Scotland
For full details of the requirements at each level see the following links:
- for charities established in Scotland, see the OSCR guidance on Charity Accounting (note that all charitable organisations based in Scotland must be registered with OSCR)
- for charities established in England and Wales, see the Charity Commission guidance on Annual Reports and Accounts (please note that the vast majority of these requirements apply even if the charity is not registered with the Charity Commission – this includes most churches under £100,000 income).
However, we only expect the accounts to comply with the legal requirements for a charity of your size – under the rules Scotland or in England/Wales as appropriate – we are not seeking anything more. For example, if your organisation is not a company, and the income is under £250,000, charity accounts on the receipts and payments basis are fine.
But, particularly with smaller organisations, we quite often find significant problems with the accounts, which prevent us from considering a grant. Here are some of the common problems we find:
- We sometimes find the accounts were not signed (we do not require an original signed copy for ourselves, but we need evidence that the accounts you are sending have been approved and signed by your trustees and by your auditor or independent examiner). It is usually best to get the accounts signed before making copies – photocopied signatures are fine. We are also prepared to accept a printed signature added after the relevant meeting provided if there is a clear date of approval.
- Sometimes we are only sent summary accounts – we always require full accounts meeting the requirements of charity law.
- The accounts we receive are sometimes only for one project – not the statutory accounts of the whole charity.
- Sometimes accounts are not in format required under the Charities & Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (for charities based in Scotland or Charities Act 2011 (for charities in England/Wales). We believe any charity seeking further funds should be able to produce an Annual Report and Accounts which at least covers the content required by law for a charity of that size.
- For organisations up to £250,000 income we are happy to accept Receipts and Payments Accounts with a Statement of Balances (Statement of Assets and Liabilities in England & Wales) as the law allows (except for charitable companies)
- Above £250,000 income the accounts must be on an accruals basis, in the format specified by the Charities SORP* (see below), with a Statement of Financial Activities, Balance Sheet, and full Notes.
- Sometimes there is no independent examiner’s or auditor’s report – we are happy to accept an independent examiner’s report for most charities (up to £500,000 in Scotland as the rules allow or those up to £1M income in England/Wales). But we cannot accept “ad hoc” reports – except for charities in England/Wales with less than £25,000 income. Above this, the scrutiny must be either an audit or independent examination as required for law.
- Notes to the accounts are sometimes missing or incomplete (do make sure you have copied all the pages of the statutory accounts).
- The Trustees Annual Report is sometimes missing (for registered charities, there must always be a Trustees Annual Report as well as the Annual Accounts – often the Annual Report and Accounts are all presented as one document – that is fine).
- Please make sure you have submitted all pages of your Annual Report and Accounts, including the report of the auditor/independent examiner where applicable – we quite often receive accounts with pages missing.
Don’t worry if you have recently had a year end and your latest year’s accounts are not yet ready – send the Annual Report and Accounts for the previous year (we don’t want to see draft accounts which are not yet agreed). However, if your organisation is a registered charity, we expect to see accounts having been submitted on time to OSCR or to the Charity Commission over the last few years (we usually check the online register). If accounts were filed late in previous years due to an issue that has now been addressed, please explain with your application.
If sending by post, please be sure to affix the correct postage! A set of accounts copied on A4 paper will normally need stamping as a large letter. (If materials are sent to The Paristamen CIO with the wrong postage, we do not pay the excess, so your application will never reach us!) However, we are prepared to accept applications by email: see how to apply.
Please use this list of possible problems as a checklist to make sure your Annual Report and Accounts are in good order – it will make a huge difference to your chances of being considered for a grant (not only from The Paristamen CIO, but from many other funders, too).
*The Charities SORP is an abbreviation for the Statement of Recommended Practice on Accounting and Reporting by Charities. See the Charity Commission/OSCR guidance above for more details. You or your accountant/independent examiner must be familiar with this, except for charities using receipt and payments accounts (maximum £250,000 income). For charities above this, but below the audit threshold, the SORP framework must be followed, but we are happy for you to make use of the simplifications which the SORP allows.
Charities in Northern Ireland
Although our Responsive Grants are mainly focused on local organisations based in Scotland (or in Yorkshire until 1 Feb 2021), we appreciate charities based elsewhere may also be applying to us – this can include smaller charities working nationally applying to the Responsive Programme and those applying to Intermediate or Large Grants programmes.
In the case of a charity based in Northern Ireland which meets our criteria to apply, the accounts must comply with the requirements of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
We do not consider applications for any programme except from organisations with charitable status that are based in the UK.