Guidance on Submitting Your Annual Report and Accounts when Applying to The Paristamen Charity 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 Scotland
For full details of the requirements at each level of income, see the following link:
- Please see the OSCR guidance on Charity Accounting which explain the accounting requirements under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (note that all charitable organisations based in Scotland must be registered with OSCR).
However, we only expect the accounts to comply with the legal requirements for a charity of your size – under the Scottish rules – 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). We are happy to accept copied or printed signatures added after the relevant meeting provided if there is a clear date of approval – both by the trustees and by the independent examiner/auditor.
- We need your Trustees Annual Report together with the Annual Accounts and the Report of your Independent Examiner (or Auditor). Most charities include all of these in a single document, but if they are separate please take care to send everything.
- Sometimes we are only sent summary accounts – we always require full accounts meeting the requirements of charity law (though as noted receipts and payments accounts are fine for smaller charities where allowed).
- 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 Scottish charity law. 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 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 subject to the rules specfied). But we cannot accept “ad hoc” reports – the independent examiner’s report must cover the legal requirements – see the OSCR guidance above.
- Notes to the accounts are sometimes missing or incomplete.
- The Trustees Annual Report is sometimes missing.
- 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 extracts of only one or two pages from a larger document, or 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 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 Charity 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 but if so we still need you to attach your Annual Report and Accounts even if they are available from OSCR, because the versions published by OSCR normally have extensive information redacted. 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 Charity, 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 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 England & Wales or in Northern Ireland
Although our Responsive Grants are mainly focused on local organisations based in Scotland, 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 our Blue Sky Grants programmes.
However, you must have sufficient presence in Scotland for the charity to be registered as a charity in Scotland (with OSCR) even if based elsewhere. This means your accounts will need to comply with the Scottish charity accounting requirements – see above – in addition to the accounting requirements in England/Wales or Northern Ireland.
- For charities established in England and Wales, the accounts must meet the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 – see the Charity Commission guidance on Annual Reports and Accounts – plus the Scottish requirements as above.
- In the case of a charity establised in Northern Ireland the accounts must comply with the requirements of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. See the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland guidance on annual reporting – plus the Scottish requirements as above.
We do not consider applications for any programme except from organisations with charitable status that are based in the UK and registered as a charity in Scotland.