Good Practice Guides

Our Good Practice Guides aim to give you necessary background and introductory guidance across a range of accounting and related finance topics. They are free to download but we would ask you consider making a donation to help support our work.

If you think there is an important topic or subject area that isn't currently covered by a guide, please do let us know. We also welcome any comments, corrections or other feedback you may have.

Accounting - basics

Dealing with cash

This guide sets out basic rules and procedure for handling cash in your organisation. It covers what to do with cash income, using petty cash for purchases and how to document the transactions you make.

Grants and contracts

Grant? Contract? SLA? - It is important to be clear about the nature of your income given differing impacts on reserves and potential liabilities. Using a couple of scenarios, this short guide highlights the key differences and implications.

How to do a bank reconciliation

Bank reconciliation is an important control in managing your finances; this guide explains what they are, and gives you a practical walkthrough on how to do a reconciliation.

Bookkeeping

This guide is aimed at organisations using manual books rather than a computerised accounts package. Example bookkeeping sheets and authorisation forms are included in the guide.

Reserves

This guide summarises what reserves are, why they are important and it gives some pointers for helping to develop a reserves policy.

Restricted Fund Accounting

This guide explains the differences between restricted and unrestricted funds and gives practical guidance on how to account for different types of funds.

Accounting software & record-keeping

Introduction to spreadsheets for finance

Aimed at real beginners, this guide introduces you to using a spreadsheet for recording your finances; it covers what is a spreadsheet, the benefits of using a spreadsheet and the basic functions you are likely to need.

QuickBooks A Starter Guide

A guide to help you get started with the QuickBooks accounting package. It covers setting up organisational details, banking and basic reports.

QuickBooks Basic Procedures

This guide takes you through regular bookkeeping jobs including entering account transactions, reconciliations and creating budgets and finance reports.

QuickBooks Basic Procedures 2

This guide covers items and invoicing, receiving payments and reports and statements.

QuickBooks Procedure Timetable

This guide includes a checklist and tips with recommended timescales for routine tasks when using QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Online

An introductory guide to QuickBooks Online

SAGE Line 50

Practical introductory guidance for getting to grips with Sage 50; the guide covers getting started, setting up an organisation, handling banking and petty cash and reports.

SAGE Line 50 Advanced

This guide gives detailed guidance on using the customers, invoicing, suppliers and budgets modules.

Cloud computing and accounting

This guide is aimed at those who are thinking of moving their accounting from a software package to doing it on-line. It covers what the cloud is, the pros and cons of using it and issues to consider in making a decision. It includes a summary of available options.

How to be safe when using the internet or the cloud

This guide is designed to be read in conjunction with the ‘Cloud accounting and Accountancy’ guide. If focuses on the security of your data and gives some simple practical advice on how to choose your passwords and it also covers the importance of backing up your data.

Planning and costing

Introduction to Full Cost Recovery

This is a step by step practical guide to applying the principles of full cost recovery in your organisation.

Budgeting

This guide covers why a budget is needed and when it should be prepared. It takes you through - step by step - how to prepare a budget. Don't forget to download the separate appendicies to this guide!

Budgeting - Appendices

This document contains the appendices to the budgeting Good Practice Guide which covers why a budget is needed and when it should be prepared. The guide takes you through - step by step - how to prepare a budget.

Financial process and practice

Financial procedures

This guide includes a template financial procedures document with notes and guidance for completion.

Money Management Booklet - Part 1 Introduction & Budgeting

* Please note due to the size of the full document it is split into four separate downloads - if you would like a hard copy of the full document please contact us *

Money Management Booklet - Part 2 Bookkeeping

* Please note due to the size of the full document it is split into four separate downloads - if you would like a hard copy of the full document please contact us *

Money Management Booklet - Part 3 Financial rules

* Please note due to the size of the full document it is split into four separate downloads - if you would like a hard copy of the full document please contact us *

Money Management Booklet - Part 4 Annual and Management Accounts

* Please note due to the size of the full document it is split into four separate downloads - if you would like a hard copy of the full document please contact us *

Insurance

This guide summarises the different types of insurance that are likely to be relevant for community and voluntary sector organisations. It also gives some tips on things to think about when taking out insurance.

Getting ready to have your annual accounts checked

This guide explains the dfferences between an audit and independent examination, how to go about having your accounts scrutinised and the practicalities of getting this done.

Expenses

A guide to paying expenses to employees, volunteers and your management committee. Please remember to also download the separate appendices to this guide!

Expenses Policy - Appendices

These appendices are sample documents and should be read in conjunction with the Expenses Good Practice Guide.

Governance

Becoming a Company

This guide summarises the accounting requirements for small charitable companies

Charity Registration

This guide outlines the cases when an organisation needs to register as a charity and summarises the benefits of registering for charitable status.

Financial Difficulties and Insolvency

A guide on how to spot and deal with financial difficulties and how to prepare and deal with insolvency.

The Role of the Treasurer

This guide covers the roles and responsibility of the treasurer and how these may differ depending on the size of an organisation. It also gives some tips on how to recruit a treasurer and the skills necessary for the role.

Presenting financial and other management information effectively

This guide gives some suggestions to help your financial and other management reporting. It covers considering your audience, why presentation is important and offers ideas for visually displaying information including summarising how to use a range of common types of charts and graphs.

Using charts in Microsoft Excel

This guide gives a basic introduction to charting for users of recent versions of Microsoft Excel. It uses illustrations to give a simple step by step approach for creating and editing charts and will help you to present your financial (and/or activity) information visually.

Closing down a solvent organisation

Is your organisation chosing to close down? If you can pay your bills (are solvent) this is some guidance through the process of closing – with consideration of requirements for charities and companies.

Tax

Gift Aid and GASDS

This guide explains what gift aid is and the conditions for making a claim. It also covers the Gift Aid Small Donation scheme (GASDS) introduced from April 2013 and HMRC’s Charities Online system for making claims.

Gift Aid & GASDS Appendix 1

To be downloaded in conjunction with Gift Aid & GASDS Good Practice Guide

Gift Aid & GASDS Appendix 2

To be downloaded in conjunction with Gift Aid and GASDS Good Practice Guide. **Please note - you need to change print to landscape before printing.**

Gift Aid & GASDS Appendix 3

To be downloaded in conjunction with Gift Aid and GASDS Good Practice Guide

VAT

An introductory guide to VAT for small charities and voluntary bodies, it covers VAT categories, reliefs available and recovery of VAT.

Please bear in mind that whilst content is accurate at the time of publication, information will change over time. Guidance is of a general nature and should not be taken as, or relied upon as, recommendation for action.

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