On 9 October 2015, the Charity Commission launched a consultation into proposals to allow charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC’s) the ability to file their accounts digitally.
The Charity Commission and Financial Reporting Council initiated their consultation after seeing the benefits that digital filing is having on UK businesses. According to GOV.uk, 70% of companies in the UK file their reports digitally through the Companies House portal: As a result, this has decreased the amount of time it takes for companies to submit their accounts to Companies House.
Through digital filing the Charity Commission hope to make it easier and quicker for charities to submit their accounts too, especially for those that have to file their accounts to both the Charity Commission and Companies House. If the proposal is approved, digital submissions will also be extended to charities who file tax returns.
Nigel Davies, Head of Accountancy Services from the Charity Commission said, “This consultation is an early step and one that should be welcomed by the 35,000 charities that file their accounts with us and Companies House. If we can make filing digital accounts possible this will reduce administration for many charities whilst also opening up charity data not just for us but for those with a keen interest in sector trends and data. I hope charity finance professionals will engage with our joint consultation and move us closer to making the option of digital filing a reality.” The commission recognises that smaller charities may not be able to benefit from the new system and plans to develop online templates and PDF submissions for those who are unable to benefit from the new process.
The consultation ends on 8 December 2015 with The Charity Commission hoping to make digital filing available form early 2016.