Business compliance: Financial

Your social business should comply with the law and good practice in accounting for your money. 

Your business needs to maintain accurate financial and accounting records. Annual accounts need to be prepared, usually for a period of 12 months to your accounting reference date, i.e. your accounting year end. Your accounting reference date will be determined when you first establish the business (although you can change it through your regulator). 

The level of detail to be included in your accounts will depend on the financial size of your business, with less detail required from smaller businesses. 

Financial records should be kept for a minimum of six years from the end of your accounting period (your financial year end). 

Production and filing of annual reports and accounts with the regulator within specific reporting deadlines. This is usually within 9 months from your accounting year end for Companies House, 10 months for Charity Commission and within 6 months of AGM for registered Societies. The format of your accounts will be determined by the legal status of your social business. 

Accounts should be audited or independently examined in line with the requirements of your regulator, the relevant legal context and your governing document. 

Rules on who can be an auditor or independent examiner are also given, but as a general principle, this should be an auditor or an individual with no personal or direct interest in your business. 

Tax applies to all businesses regardless of their legal status and charitable position. You need to consider and account for corporation tax, PAYE and National Insurance, and VAT as appropriate.

Fundraising is regulated by the Fundraising Regulator, an independent, non-statutory body that regulates fundraising across the charitable sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The regulator sets and maintains the standards for charitable fundraising in the Code of Fundraising Practice to ensure that fundraising is respectful, open, honest and accountable to the public and investigate complaints from the public about fundraising, when complaints haven’t been resolved by the charities themselves.