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Online tools can help charities keep better records

02 March 2021

Less than a third of local charities use digital bookkeeping tools to maintain their records, estimates BDO Guernsey’s head of BDODrive, Carl Gardner.

BDO Guernsey has advised local charities to make the move online to ensure adaptability and best bookkeeping practice as part of its continued drive to provide support to the community.

The firm currently offer pro bono services to over 20 local charities and not for profit organisations (“NPOs”) including Les Bourgs Hospice and The Cheshire Home. Over the past four years BDO Guernsey has provided more than £360,000 worth of pro bono work in the form of accounting services and assistance in complying with statutory responsibilities when producing financial statements.

Historically many charities and non-profit organisations have used manual bookkeeping and spreadsheets. With online software becoming more widespread there has been a move in this direction but it has been slower than in other sectors.

At BDO we are committed to helping charities which benefit the whole community and we’re aware that the pandemic has added extra pressure on them.

Depending on size there are different tools available. Smaller charities can explore the non-profit offers from Microsoft if they have a tight budget or use tools like Xero or Quickbooks which are both user-friendly and cost-effective.

I highly recommend that charities make the most of as many of their chosen software’s features, keep on top of bank reconciliations and tailor the reporting to their needs as most reports can be personalised.

Under the Charities and Non-Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law 2008, charities and non-profit organisations are required to keep sufficient records of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities.  With an ever-increasing focus on good governance, which is entirely appropriate, it is even more important for Trustees and committees of charities and NPOs to be able to demonstrate strong controls and procedures over the funds that the public entrust them to safeguard.

It is vital that good records are kept, whatever the size of the charity and financial activity, from minimal finances to larger assets and expenditure. Online tools can take out a lot of manual work and streamline processes much easier.