There are three types of reserves:
The requirements for financial accountability produced by the Charity Commission are set out here.
The Management Committee must be able to account for everything the organisation does. Even though your group or organisation may have paid staff and/or volunteers, the Management Committee is ultimately responsible and may be held liable for the consequences of actions taken or not taken.
However the Management Committee is not only required to be accountable, but to be able to demonstrate and communicate this to stakeholders by ensuring that appropriate systems and procedures are in place. By doing so, they reduce their risks of personal liability should things go wrong.
Charities should prepare accounts at least annually. The purpose of preparing accounts is to provide useful information for the decision making process of the board, funders and other external stakeholders. In addition the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which were developed by the Department for Social Development, commenced on 1 January 2016. These regulations require charities in Northern Ireland to prepare annual accounts depending on the size of the organisation.
During the current COVID-19 emergency, charity trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them. Many charities are facing the double challenge of a sudden fall in income with an increase in demand for their services. The Charity Commmision for Northern Ireland has prepared guidance for charity trustees, especially of smaller charities, who may not have access to professional financial advice.
Principle 4 - An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by exercising appropriate control
As the accountable body, the board will maintain and regularly review the organisation’s system of internal controls, performance, and policies and procedures, to ensure that:
Organisations monitor their activities and income and expenditure to ensure that they are operating in line with their plans and to ensure they are delivering their organisational purposes.
Definitions of Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring is the systematic collection of information for analysis.
An operational plan outlines the activities and targets which the organisation will carry out in order to work towards achieving the aims and objectives set out in the strategic plan. It provides the framework for an organisation's day-to-day operations. An operational plan covers a one year period. Your strategic plan should be supported by annual operational plans. These will often be developed by senior staff members (where there are paid staff) but must be approved by the management committee.