Not for profit accounting

Focus on what you love and and do best while we take care of the numbers and guide you through each stage

As a charity, what do you look for from your accountant?

Our Not-for-Profit team advises regional and national charities and other not-for-profit entities in the UK on tax, VAT and accounting issues, and provides a risk-based audit for many.

We know how important it is to have accountants who understand charity finances and that accounting requirements for charities are very different to those for commercial organisations. As a result, inadequately trained corporate accountants will not be able to advice you on your charity’s reserves policy, gift aid, partial exemption for VAT or raising finance.

As a firm that has enjoyed many years of working with charities, Burgis & Bullock understands what trustees look for from their accountant.

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As a not for profit or charity organisation, much of your time is likely to be taken up with funding concerns – plus a growing need to demonstrate sustainability, transparency, accountability and responsible governance. Knowing that you have an Accountant who fully understands the pressures and responsibilities that go with running a charity or not for profit organisation gives you the reassurance that all of your day to day compliance is being looked after, so you can focus on your core purpose. Typical accounting services for charities and not for profit organisations include:
  • Accounts preparation
  • Corporate Tax returns
  • Independent examinations
  • Outsourced bookkeeping and VAT
  • Payroll and pensions
  • Gift Aid returns
  • CIS returns
  • Tax and accounting updates
As a firm that has enjoyed many years of working with charities, Burgis & Bullock understands what trustees look for from their accountant.

First, you need professional advice from experienced accountants who have specific expertise in charities, both from an accounting and strategic point of view. You need advice and help which makes a positive difference to your fund-raising.

Secondly, you need advisers who can “keep you out of trouble” by ensuring that you comply with all the relevant laws and regulations.

To provide such effective service, our partners and staff devote time, commitment and expertise in understanding your charity and the issues which it faces.

As charities operate in an increasingly complex environment, the roles and responsibilities of trustees have become ever more onerous. The burden of complying with legislation and regulations is much greater than in the past, and this ultimately affects the trustees.

Burgis & Bullock’s role, therefore, is to:

  • advise trustees on issues, especially those arising from audit, and how they can be addressed
  • share their views on risks and how they can be mitigated
  • act as a sounding board for trustees and executive management.
Charity Audits

As registered auditors, Burgis & Bullock has the relevant expertise to undertake audits of charities and other Not-For-Profit organisations to ensure they comply with Charities Commission rules. The audit approach focuses on those areas of greatest risk to the charity, assessing the quality of the controls the charity has over its key systems, and concentrating detailed testing on areas where controls appear to be weak.

Corporate Governance

Increasingly, charities need to ensure their governance is beyond reproach and appropriate for their size and nature. That’s why charities’ governance procedures come under review, including:

  • The committee structure and terms of reference – procedures for identifying and managing conflicts of interest and related party transactions
  • Procedures for recruiting and training trustees, and ensuring the board has the appropriate range of skills
  • Procedures for assessing the effectiveness of the board
  • The relationship between the trustees and the chief executive.

Charities’ Statutory Accounts

We can prepare and file statutory accounts for charities and Not-For-Profit organisations, ensuring they comply with all the relevant and ever-increasing legislation.
In-house talent is great, but the financial realities for most small and mid-sized charities and smaller businesses limit what you can afford to hire. For most, the choice is either a reasonably skilled part-timer or a full-time employee who’s enthusiastic and reliable but doesn’t have specialised knowledge or expertise. Done right, outsourcing your bookkeeping allows you to purchase a higher level of skill and a comprehensive array of services and functions, but at a fractional cost. And unlike with that part-timer who’s available only certain days of the week or month, you’re not captive to individuals and their calendars. You get the benefits of a dedicated individual, plus the support of a full team.

In addition, outsourcing your bookkeeping gives you some benefits you can’t get from either a part-time or a full-time employee. Like the ability to optimise skills and services to your precise needs. Like built-in protection against errors and fraud. Like the freedom to work without having to recruit, hire, and manage an additional employee.

Typical services include:

  • Accounts receivable, including customer invoicing, collections, and payment posting
  • Accounts payable, including supplier bill coding, approval, and payment
  • Payroll calculations and postings
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Credit card postings and reconciliations
  • Employee expense reports
  • VAT filing and payment
  • Fixed assets accounting
  • Monthly financial statements
A cloud accounting system will make your life easier and assist you in making those all-important business decisions, based on up-to-date and informative financial information.

The cloud is a major shift presenting efficiencies and possibilities that change the way business and accounting can be done. We’re excited for small and medium businesses, because they have the most to gain. Time saved on repetitive tasks, greater security, convenience and flexibility and they are free from any single computer or location. When the accounting virtually does itself, our advisors with up-to-the-minute information can provide greater insight and guidance, and that enables you to do amazing things for your business.

We understand that no two businesses are the same and therefore may require different functions and facilities from a cloud accounting package. For this reason, we can help to analyse your business and recommend the most appropriate cloud software solution that best meets your needs.

Benefits of Cloud Accounting

  • Access to up-to-date financial information, at any time, on any device which has an internet connection
  • You can share your data with us in real time, which will enable us to help you run and grow your business and assist with decision making
  • No system downtime because all software upgrades are automatically installed by the supplier, meaning you are always on the latest version
  • A monthly charge allows you to spread the cost of the system instead of incurring one lump sum cost
  • 24/7 support is available from the supplier. We can also access your data in real time from our offices in order to assist you in resolving issues when required
  • Data is automatically and securely stored to the supplier’s servers. This avoids you having to take regular backups and potential loss of data
  • Most cloud accounting systems have a live bank statement feed, which means bank transactions are automatically posted, allowing you to assess your cashflow in real time
We are Xero platinum partners.
We offer fee protection to cover our clients from any fees that arise due to an HMRC investigation.

HMRC have recently developed a new tool that means anyone can be selected for an investigation. The new ‘connect’ system has access to an increased amount of Government data, and gaps or discrepancies within this data could mean an HMRC investigation. These investigations can be both expensive and time consuming, but in taking up professional protection, both your time and money can be saved.

Our optional fee protection insurance will provide the ultimate protection for our clients, covering up to the equivalent of £100,000 towards our professional fees.

Should a tax investigation arise, we’ll provide professional representation to our clients on all matters, ensuring that the enquiry runs as smoothly as possible by providing:

  • Expertise and experience in dealing with HMRC
  • Early intervention which may lead to early resolution
  • Mitigation of tax wherever possible
All of our advice is bespoke to your charity or not for profit organisation’s individual needs. Along with our charity audit specialists, our not for profit tax team also works closely with our specialist charity VAT consultancy team to give you a complete service.

Some examples of the common tax advice and support we offer are:

  • Gift aid and tax efficient income
  • Tax efficient structures and contracts
  • Property Transaction advice
  • Employment tax advice
  • Corporate and Trust Tax returns
  • VAT planning and advice
  • Partial exemption advice and assistance
  • Tax efficient giving
VAT is a tax on business transactions.

Charities and not for profit organisations are often in receipt of grants and donations that fund various activities that don’t qualify as being business activities from HMRC’s vantage point. Charities, sports associations, professional societies, trade unions and other not-for-profit organisations often have a partially exempt status under VAT legislation.

There are various reliefs available that were introduced with a view to easing the VAT burden for charities, but the rules are subtle and opportunities to recover valuable sums or avoid VAT at source are frequently overlooked. To top it all off, the VAT affairs of many of these organisations are administered by part time volunteers. Thankfully, we have considerable experience in assisting with the myriad of complex issues that affect this sector.

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