Charity Accounting and Reporting

All churches must prepare annual accounts, including an annual report in the format set out in the Charity Commission guidelines and regulations.  These are public documents and must be made available to anyone upon request.

For churches which are registered charities, an Annual Return to the Charity Commission is also required.

The way the accounts are to be prepared varies according to the size of the church.  The requirements increase the larger the income and assets. 

Below is a summary of the requirements:

  • All churches must prepare an annual report and accounts.
  • Churches with receipts below £25,000 are advised to have their accounts examined by an independent person.
  • Churches with receipts between £25,000 and £250,000 need to have their accounts independently examined by somebody with some financial expertise.
  • Where receipts are over £100,000 churches should be registered as a charity and need to submit an Annual Return to the Charity Commission.
  • When income exceeds £250,000 accounts must be prepared on an accruals basis in accordance with the full SORP requirements for charities.
  • For churches with income between £250,000 and £500,000 the independent examination must be carried out by a person professionally qualified to undertake such examinations.
  • Where income exceeds £250,000 and assets exceed £3.26m an audit is required.
  • Where income exceeds £500,000 an audit is required, irrespective of the value of the assets.

Where churches have a company then the company accounts must follow the tighter requirements for company reporting under the Companies Act.

Click here for further information on charity accounts and annual reports.  The attached documents set out in more detail what is required, including suggested formats for the accounts, a letter to be used on the appointment of an Independent Examiner and a copy of the Charity Commission certificate which should be signed by the Independent Examiner and held with the completed accounts.

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