"Simple is Beautiful" is a series of leaflets explaining how "ordinary" volunteer Trustees, without any special financial expertise, can set up their small charity accounts to be easy and understandable to all.
And in a way that does NOT require them (or even the Treasurer) to be professional accountants.

AND the leaflets are accompanied by a downloadable spreadsheet to show how they can be put into practice.

EFS BookThe title has been inspired by the 1960s (but even more relevant today) iconic book, Small is Beautiful:  Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F.Schumacher.

Click on the leaflet titles (below) to open them as downloadable PDF files.

The leaflets are NOT a full and comprehensive guide to Charity Law and all the associated regulations.   They are just an overview, in simple everyday language (rather than legalistic/accountancy jargon) of the main points for those who want to run their small charity efficiently and effectively, or to help trustees who have encountered one of the many common difficulties.

So if you are expecting your charity’s annual income to be more than £250,000/yr, or to own property, or to employ more than 3 staff then you will probably need to seek additional professional guidance elsewhere.

The topics covered in this series are:

What Accounts ALL Small Charities MUST Keep

The Role of the Charity Treasurer (and assistants)   (Also on the "Starting a Charity" page)

Recording & Managing Your Charity’s Funds

Budgets & Cash Flows

Financial Controls CheckList

A Bank Account
Originally written for new charities being set up, this leaflet may also be useful to existing charities wanting to review their banking services.

Preparing the Trustees' Annual Report & Accounts

 a: Guidance Notes

 b: Blank Template  (MS-Word format)

Note:  In October 2018 Small Charity Support posted a very critical review of the Charity Commission's original model example for the Trustees' Annual Report and Accounts for a small charity (The Westbeach Youth Club model).   As a consequence, the Charity Commission has now revised the original model example (which was dated for the charity's year 2009) to a version dated for the charity's year 2016.   The flaws in the original (2009) model which were highlighted by the Small Charity Support review have been replaced by something more appropriate in the revised 2016 version.
Accordingly, the critical review of the original 2009 version has now been withdrawn,


Simple Accounts Spreadsheet

The "Simple Accounts Spreadsheet" referred to in the leaflets above can be downloaded (click on the links below) so that you can see if it might be suitable for your charity.   If you think they might be useful you are welcome to save them to your own computer(s).

The spreadsheet comes in two versions:
(1) an Example version, containing real (but anonymised) data to illustrate how the spreadsheet works in practice;
(2) a Blank version, in which there are no transactions data and none of the categories have been set (other than the main headings suggested by the Charity Commission) to avoid the need for new users to clear away existing data in order to set up their own requirements.

There is also a comprehensive guide showing how to set up and use the spreadsheet.

Version without any data

Version with data to experiment with

48-page guide, illustrated with screen shots, on how to set up and use the spreadsheet

Both spreadsheets have been created using Microsoft Office 365(R) but appear to work satisfactorily in other software, eg: LibraOfficeCalc(R).

To use the spreadsheet you'll need to be rather more than a spreadsheet novice - ie: you'll need to have a reasonable understanding of how formulae work, copying & pasting, etc.   But you won't need to be an expert.


Please remember
to read our Legal Notice

 Intellectual Property and Copyrights
Crown Copyright Acknowledged.
All the other materials on this website are the intellectual property and copyright of Small Charity Support
.   All Small Charity Support's services & materials are made available free of charge & royalties for use by bona fide small charities & not-for-profit community organisations

However, small charities and not-for-profit organisations are requested to e-mail Small Charity Support (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for confirmation of permission to use the spreadsheets royalty-free.

Use of the materials, directly or modified, for commercial or other for-profit purposes is NOT permitted.