The Charity Commission has launched a consultation which marks the first step in enabling charities to file digital accounts with the Commission. The consultation looks at the taxonomies which will be used – these are digital tags which identify individual items of financial data in charity accounts and allow electronic filing and easy analysis. Once a 'dictionary' of taxonomies has been created, it will be easier for digital accounts to be introduced.
Currently 70% of companies file digital accounts with Companies House, but currently digital accounts cannot be filed with the Commission. For charitable companies with dual reporting obligations, this can make the process slower and more complicated. Digital filing can also be used with HMRC where supporting accounting information needs to be provided.
Another advantage of digital accounts is that it will make it easier for the Commission and others to monitor trends within the sector.
The Commission has recognised that many smaller charities will need additional support to file digital accounts and plans to develop templates for smaller charities choosing to file digitally.
The consultation is open until 8 December 2015. The Commission hopes to set out its proposals on digital filing before the end of the year.
The consultation is available here.