Reporting the Impact of Covid in your Annual Accounts and Trustees’ Annual Report

Hunts Forum’s Finance Manager Louise Prosser explains what to consider when preparing financial reports to reflect the impact of Covid-19

Many organisations will be approaching March year-ends or will be in the process of preparing year-end accounts and reports. There are several ways your accounts and Trustees’ Annual Report may need to reflect the effects of Covid on your organisation.

Reporting the impact of Covid in the Trustees’ Annual Report

  • The narrative you need to include should be proportionate to the impact of Covid on your organisation and the risks faced by the charity
  • You may need to include:
    • The impact on fundraising
    • Any changes in activities or demand for services
    • Support given to beneficiaries
    • Any change in the contribution of volunteers
    • Future aims and objectives
    • Any updates to your reserves policy
    • The financial sustainability of the organisation and any long-term impact
    • Any uncertainty around Going Concern

Reporting under SORP

For those preparing accounts under the Charity Commission’s Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) you may need to consider the following:

  • Income recognition – income should be recorded when it is probable, reliable and measurable. Think about whether there have been any changes in grant conditions that may affect this.
  • If you have received income for events that have been postponed, it may need to treated as deferred income in your accounts. Also, ensure any refunds given have been correctly accounted for.
  • Check your treatment of any CJRS grants received, including any due for the last month of your financial year.
  • Have any restricted funds been repurposed, with the permission of those giving the grants or donations? If so, this will need to be explained in the notes to the accounts.
  • Annual leave carried over by staff needs to be accrued in the accounts. This may be more common this year that in the past.
  • Going Concern – your auditor or independent examiner will need evidence up to the date the accounts are signed to show that this is a suitable basis on which to prepare them. This may be budgets or funding agreements to show the organisation can continue for the coming year.

Other things to note

  • With audits and independent examinations being carried out remotely, be prepared for things to take slightly longer this year.
  • Accounts still need to be filed with the Charity Commission within 10 months of the year end, unless you contact them for an extension.
  • For year ends between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021 the Companies House filing deadline has been extended from 9 to 12 months.

Supporting Communities During Covid-19

If your organisation is planning to support people through the Covid-19 crisis, Hunts Forum is here to help you do this as effectively and safely as possible.

Many community organisations across Huntingdonshire are pivoting to support people who are ill, who are in vulnerable groups or who need help for any other reason. Some are established organisations while others have appeared recently to respond to this crisis. Both need to find new ways of working, and quickly.

From this page you’ll find lots of useful advice, checklists and sample documents. Please help yourself to these resources and adapt them as necessary. These pages are being updated regularly so please check back for the latest advice.

Checklist for Covid-19 Volunteer Groups

What is the structure of your organisation?

  • Mutual aid groups that have no formal management structure, insurance, screening checks or cash-handling processes can work well for a small group of people such as a street but are likely to struggle over a larger area. It may be easier and safer to redeploy these volunteers via an established organisation.
  • Established community and voluntary organisations can use their policies and procedures (including volunteer recruitment, safeguarding, risk assessments, data protection, insurance) to good effect to support people across larger areas.
  • Town and parish councils can have a role to play, perhaps as a centralised point of contact and for handling card payments for shopping over the phone or online. They might deploy volunteers directly or work in conjunction with local community organisations or mutual aid groups.

Read our guidance for people looking to volunteer here.

Regardless of your size and structure, make sure volunteers are acting in a safe way – see our model guidelines here.

What are you asking your volunteers to do?

  • It is imperative volunteers are told what they are expected to do. The clearer you can be, the less chance there is for confusion and disagreements later. If possible, a volunteer role description/agreement should be created and given to each volunteer. Download our model volunteer agreement here.

What support are you giving your volunteers?

  • Volunteers should have a named person as their main point of contact, plus a second contact should the named person become ill.
  • Consider giving the volunteers guidance on what to do if they have a problem i.e. how to report a safeguarding concern or if they have concerns about a person’s health.
  • Keep things simple for them – create a single document with everything they need to know to carry out their specific role.

How are you protecting your volunteers?

  • The health and safety of the volunteers are paramount. Make sure that your volunteers are aware of the guidance given on the government website.
  • Don’t ask volunteers to do anything that puts them at an unnecessary risk, such as receiving cash from someone who is infected.
  • The volunteers may be volunteering alone, consider having a lone working policy (see Factsheet 8). Make sure they are aware of it.
  • Make sure the volunteer doesn’t take too much on. The current situation is overwhelming for us all and some may feel the need to take more on than they can deal with. Have a team of volunteers supporting groups of people in need, so there’s no one volunteer who feels solely responsible for a particular person.

How are you protecting the people you want to help?

  • The people you are helping may be vulnerable. You should complete a risk assessment, particularly with consideration to reducing the risk of cross-contamination when handling shopping, delivering it and paying for goods.
  • Be clear about what roles require a DBS check – click here for more information..
  • There are already examples of people using this opportunity to commit fraud. What measures can you put in place to protect your scheme from dishonest behaviour?

Are you looking after people’s information correctly?

  • Confidentiality of people’s information is a legal requirement under GDPR legislation. Seek express permission before gathering it, store it securely and only share it when necessary.
  • Remember that you are responsible for the data you hold of both volunteers and clients.

Are you ensuring that your organisation stays healthy through this crisis?

  • Many parts of our economy are closed for business. If this is directly or indirectly impacting your organisation, make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to stay financially solvent. (see factsheets 1 and 13)
  • Think about what measures you need to keep operating efficiently from home (see factsheet 14)