End of year accounts

How to prepare for an end of year review of your unit accounts

How to prepare for an end of year financial review for your unit.

What do I need to do?

Check our Finance policy as well as this guidance to help you prepare for with your end of year review.

The basic requirement - that everyone needs to do – is produce an annual accounts statement and a statement of assets and liabilities.

Annual accounts statement

This shows information about your income and your spending.

Statement of assets and liabilities

These show your assets, which is anything of value that the unit owns, including valuable equipment, land, buildings, investments, as well as any cash or money you have in the bank.

It also needs to show your liabilities, which means anything you owe. Usually this is sums of money.

The statement should list your:

  • Cash and bank balances - how much petty cash do you have and what is in the unit’s bank account (be aware of cheques paid in that might not have cleared or cheques paid to suppliers that might not have been cashed)
  • Equipment – this is the value of your equipment. You should include valuable equipment here like tents, flags, tables, laptops/tablets/devices
  • Other high value assets such as land, buildings or investments
  • Any other amounts that might be owed to you or by you

Once you have completed these statements you need to have your accounts independently reviewed.

Doing an end of year review or examination.

All levels of guiding need to prepare accounts. And they need to be available to view if anyone asks.

Girlguiding also requires you to have your accounts reviewed annually. The kind of review you need depends on your unit’s income for the year or the country that you are guiding in.

In England and Wales

  • If your unit's income is below £25,000 a year, you’ll need an independent review of your unit's accounts.
  • If your annual income is above £25,000, it is a legal obligation to have a more in-depth examination of the accounts. In some cases, you may need to file your accounts with the Charity Commission.

In Scotland, if you are registered on the Scottish Charity Register you should check out these rules.

Units in Northern Ireland who have registered with the Charity Commission will need to complete the annual monitoring process. Check the details of this here.

What is an independent review or examination?

An independent review or examination provides an external check on a charity’s, or unit’s, accounts. It involves reviewing the accounting records kept by the charity and comparing the accounts to the records kept. It also looks for unusual items.

For a review or examination to take place, you need to give the independent reviewer or examiner your annual accounts statement with your statement of assets and liabilities, and all supporting documents. This could include:

  • Cash account pages
  • Bank statements
  • Paying in slips
  • Cheque book stubs
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Attendance registers
  • Subscription records
  • Any other financial documents that are required by the reviewer

Who can carry out an independent review or examination?

Any competent, responsible person can review or examine the accounts, but they must not be:

  • Related to anyone within the unit
  • A member of the unit’s leadership team
  • A signatory of the bank account

They do not need to be a registered or qualified auditor, unless the income is more than £250,000.

The unit leader is responsible for having the unit accounts independently reviewed or examined each year. The district commissioner‘s role is to make sure this is done. In many cases, a district commissioner will appoint someone to review all the accounts across their whole district.

Charity Commission registration

Units at all levels of guiding are charities in their own right. Most levels are what is known as "excepted charities". This means that in most cases, that they do not need to register with the Charity Commission.

But if your level meets any of the following criteria, you’ll need to register with the Charity Commission:

  • Levels whose income is more than £100,000
  • Levels that have a permanent endowment and their income is more than £5,000
  • Levels that own land or buildings and their income is more than £5,000

If your level is registered in England or Wales as a charity, then you might also need to complete an annual return and file accounts with the Charity Commission. You can find more information on sending a charity's annual return on gov.uk.