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.

Lessons from the Pandemic – report

In September 2020 Support Cambridgeshire was commissioned to carry out some research into how the voluntary sector and statutory partners have responded to Covid-19. As part of this we talked with:

  • 19 groups made up from a range of county-wide, small and newly formed community groups and charities;
  • representatives from six district/city Covid-response hubs and the county hub.

The resulting report paints a picture of an exceptional response to this extraordinary time. There has been innovation and collaboration on unprecedented scales, and also a need to tailor responses to local needs.

Read the report here.

Could you be a trustee for Hunts Forum?

Hunts Forum is recruiting to its board of trustees. Do you have the skills and the passion to take on this key role and be a champion for the voluntary sector?

Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Huntingdonshire and beyond, helping to empower communities and improve the lives of residents. We are a registered charity with 128 member organisations ranging from volunteer-led community groups to county-wide charities and town and parish councils. To our members we are a trusted ally, confidant, coach, trouble-shooter and campaigner. We play a vital role in helping new organisations establish themselves, upskilling volunteers and staff, helping our members through challenging times and championing their causes to the wider VCSE sector and beyond.

Our small team of experienced staff is governed by our board of trustees, many of whom are drawn from our member organisations. The board sets the strategic direction, monitors performance and ensures that Hunts Forum delivers on its stated objects. It provides oversight of finances, legal compliance and the appointment and management of staff.

We are fortunate to have an extremely talented, dedicated team of trustees from a range of backgrounds, and we are looking to expand this team. We are appealing to you, the volunteers and staff of our member organisations, because you know more than anyone how Hunts Forum can best serve its members. We are particularly keen to hear from people with experience in HR, legal and fundraising. Trustee meetings are held bi-monthly during the day.

If you think you might be interested, please call Julie Farrow, our CEO, for an informal chat on 07809 214893 or email her at

Click here for information from NCVO on the role of trustees.

Lesson Learned from Arranging an Online Conference

Hunts Forum’s Deputy CEO Kathryn Shepherson shares her experience of organising the Connecting Communities Festival of Ideas in the midst of a lockdown.

The festival content is available here.

When I joined Hunts Forum in February 2020, plans were already underway for a countywide volunteer conference on 24 June. The themes, venue and refreshments were organised, and the first meeting I attended was around promotion and getting people to turn up. Then something happened.

The UK went into lockdown and everything went out the window, including plans for the conference. As part of this new world of online chats, meetings and webinars, we all got very used to looking at a screen all day. It became clear to me that we could still go ahead with the conference, but the idea of a day-long event was not feasible in this new way of working. Instead, we took a one-day event and stretched across a week, with one-hour nuggets of information on each day. That way, people could choose which parts they attended and hopefully allowed people with different work patterns to access at least some of the conference.

Picking a platform

My colleague Keith and I had a long conversation about which software platform we should use to run the online events. We went with Zoom because it had the features we needed, and it had worked well for our internal team meetings. There is an extra charge for Zoom’s webinar package, which could be an issue for some organisations, but we kept our costs down by just paying for it for a month. We managed to take it for a test drive with a smaller event we hosted in the run-up.

It was important to me that each day of the conference used a slightly different format. They were all online but we varied how the viewer watched and interacted with the hosts. The first was an interview format followed by questions from the audience. The second was a presentation with slides, followed by questions. We had one speaker who pre-recorded her training and appeared at the end to answer questions. This session also came with a PDF handout before the event. Finally, there was a networking event where the themes and ideas from throughout the week could be discussed and applied to Cambridgeshire. I would use all these formats again – they all had their pros and cons.

Keeping it simple

Big events require lots of admin, and it’s no different online. I would advise against using a mixture of software platforms, as this complicates things for both the organisers and the attendees. Online events involve lots of calendar requests, reminders and links to videoconferencing rooms, and it’s much easier if they’re all sent from the same place. I had nightmares about sending a wrong link and no one turning up on the day!

For our practice event, we used Zoom for everything: the booking system, sending out reminders, the event itself and recording it. For the main conference, we used Eventbrite as the booking system only, then Zoom as the event and recording platform.

Technology is only as good as the people using it

This was the next steep learning curve. The events went well apart from a few hiccups, all of which were down to our knowledge of the system and remembering our lists of jobs. This included giving the speaker permission to enter the event and pressing the record button. However, all issues were rectified quickly.

We recorded all the events onto the Zoom platform, which meant we could top and tail the videos and embed them on our website. We also downloaded the original video files so we had copies for future reference. This worked well.

Zoom includes the option to record webinars and discussions – useful for making the content available afterwards.

Make a strong start

Everyone’s computer and Wi-Fi connection is different, and people started to log into our events from about 10 minutes before it was scheduled to start. It might be an idea to do a register before the official start time so people are not still turning up during the first few minutes of your event. In future I will have a holding screen that welcomes people and says when the event is going to start.

Make the most of what you have

I would use the webinar function of Zoom again but I would ensure that we made the most of the system. Features such as Polls, Q&A and Chat make the event more interactive and engaging. It’s also important to explain at the start what each button does and how attendees interact with it.

From the feedback we received, the one thing people missed was networking. One solution might be to encourage attendees to use the chat function to interact with others. It might also be useful to encourage everyone watching to introduce themselves to the group.

Overall, I enjoyed planning and running this new type of event. I learnt a lot along the way and have ideas on how to improve things further. I do believe this what events will look like in future, making them more accessible but also cheaper to run.

The Connecting Communities Festival of Ideas is available to watch here.

Hunts Forum’s Response to £750m Funding for Charity Sector

Hunts Forum welcomes the new measures and support announced by the Treasury on 8 April 2020. This money will indeed support those charities currently on the frontline of the current pandemic and make sure that much-needed services supporting those in need – currently including hospices, food banks, domestic abuse services along with homelessness and addiction charities – can continue to support the communities that need them more than ever at this time.

There is still work to be done though. Hunts Forum is very aware that while this money will support some, there are many charities and other voluntary organisations who will not be able to access it. Hunts Forum is working hard to identify funding options for everyone and will continue to back our members to recognise other funding pots available. Support Cambridgeshire still has the funding portal, which now has updated information relating to COVID-19, and our new weekly updates include information on new funds that we have been identified.

Hunts Forum continues to work with NCVO and NAVCA to understand what is happening at a grassroots level, which allows them to continue to make the case to government. Consequently, we ask you to keep in contact with us throughout this time, letting us know what support your group needs and what issues you are facing. This can be done by making contact via email, calling 01480 420 601 or by filling out our member survey.

In The Loop

In the Loop Winter 2020  edition of the Hunts Forum Newsletter is now available to download

Inside you will find information about training, networking, news from our members and news stories we thought may interest you.

Free Link To Our Funding Search Engine

The Self-Funding Portal provided by Hunts Forum and partners under the Support Cambridgeshire banner has passed the half-million mark in funds raised by Cambridgeshire community organisations.

Over the past 12 months, the Portal has been visited on 5,860 occasions with 506 new registered organisations using the search facility and 650 repeat visitors. The top 5 search areas continue to be Youth engagement, Older people, Education, Disability and Volunteering.

Anyone can create a free account and perform their own searches to find funders for their organisation, project type, area of work and various other criteria. Simply click here to start your journey. You can use the Portal repeatedly without cost: All we ask is that when you receive an electronic questionnaire about how good or bad the site is you provide your honest opinion. This feedback helps us to improve the site, making it easier for more groups or organisations to use the service.

Here is what some users have said this year:

SC4C is incredibly easy to navigate. Its a really useful resource for community organisations.

We raised 50K off the back of a SC4C search: Its so simple and easy to use.

I use SC4C every week when searching for funds. If you use it in conjunction with the funding alerts it really does help.

If you need some help registering then please contact and put Funding Portal in your title line.