OG15 A1 Charities accounts and reports: Introduction

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Policy Statement/Overview

Summary of the guidance

Casework Guidance

Please read the IMPORTANT NOTE on the front page

OG15 A1

OG15 A1 Overview - 18 July 2011 

1. Introduction and scope

The aim of OG15 is to provide an answer to practical problems facing case officers in their work.

Questions such as:

  • What are receipts and payments accounts?
  • What are accruals accounts?
  • Can I give a charity a dispensation to have an independent examination?
  • How do I read the accounts?
  • What does the independent examiner or auditor do?
  • What is SORP all about?
  • What do I do if I encounter poor quality accounts?


OG15 answers these questions and provides a concise summary of the accounting and reporting arrangements for charities. It explains what forms of accounts are acceptable, the nature of the external scrutiny arrangements, when we can offer audit dispensations and how the charity applies for a dispensation, why we have a Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) governing the form and content of accruals accounts, and our expectations of the auditor and examiner and their important whistle-blowing role.


The OG series is written in modular form so all that is needed is to refer to the OG explaining that topic. Each OG is freestanding and the guidance cites those occasions when accountancy and legal advice must be taken.


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2. Overview of the OG series

OG Content

OG 15 B1

Charitable companies and non-company charities preparing accruals accounts for an individual charity: accruals accounting, the availability of the accruals pack, what the various financial statements include, differences for charitable companies, the role of the SORP, accounting policies and the notes to the accounts.

OG 15 B2

Smaller non-company charities under £250,000 and receipts and payments accounts: what we expect to see, the receipts and payments pack, and scrutiny arrangements.

OG 15 B3

Audit dispensations: the special dispensations for NAO audits and Local Authority charity audits and certain NHS charity audits, the substitution of independent examination for audit in exceptional circumstances and our approach to dispensations when scrutiny thresholds change.

OG 15 B4

External scrutiny of accounts: the role and the report of the independent examiner, special arrangements for NHS charity audit, the role and reporting of the auditor, the statutory whistle-blowing duty, how to recognise if an audit is required and our policy on audit liability caps.

OG 15 B5

Common Deposit (CDF) and Common Investment (CIF) Funds – an outline of what these funds are and their audit and reporting requirements.

OG 15 C1

Dealing with poor professional practice: why it concerns us, how to recognise it and what to do if you encounter poor practice.

OG 15 C2

Whistle-blowing: how to recognise it, our expectations of auditors and examiners and matters of material significance.

OG 15 D1

SORP: How the SORP came about, its development, legal status, SORP and small charities, SORP and charitable companies and larger charities, and how to use the SORP effectively.

OG 15 G1

Glossary of technical terms.

OG 15 L1

Audit dispensations: standard application letters.

OG 15 L2

Audit dispensations: standard dispensation confirmation letter.

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