Picture of Paul holding a pen working at his desk with a laptop and calculator - Services Paul provides,  General consultancy, system reviews, risk review, management accounts, Statutory Accounts Preparation, Independent examinations, Preparation for audit, Training, Taxation including VAT, prepare and file corporation tax for small companies and CICs - Paul Cowham Accountancy - Manchester based accountant specialising in the charity and social enterprise sectors

General consultancy, system reviews, risk review, management accounts

I have experience in working with a wide range of organisations within the voluntary sector and with advising organisations on best practice in relation to their internal financial systems. This can include helping with implementation of new systems and also reviewing the financial governance arrangements, which is something that can easily be overlooked. On this type of engagement I would write a report listing appropriate recommendations.

I also provide general consultancy on an organisation’s needs when it comes to financial resource, or help with financial recruitment e.g. by providing expertise on an interview panel.

If your organisation cannot afford to employ an experienced accountant then a cost effective solution could be to engage my services on an ad hoc basis to provide top level financial management and oversight. For example I could prepare quarterly management accounts, help with budgeting/cash flow or advise the chief executive/treasurer.

I am also used to helping organisations set up their finances on an accounting package, or improving the use of whichever system is already being used – for example by helping to develop a month end checklist. More and more clients are switching from using desk-top systems to cloud based systems which can provide a number of benefits. I have broad experience of Quickbooks but also Xero and sage one.

I am always happy to meet up with potential clients for a free initial consultation to discuss how I could help. Do send me an e-mail if you are interested and I will arrange a meeting.

Statutory Accounts Preparation

Most organisations in the voluntary sector are required to file statutory accounts. For example, charities are required to file accounts with the Charity Commission. These accounts should follow the Statement of Recommended Practice (FRS 102), commonly known as the charity SORP. This is a complex document and I am well versed in helping charities prepare their statutory accounts which are SORP compliant. This includes providing advice to ensure that the Trustees Annual Report, which forms a key part of a charity’s accounts, is also compliant.

Companies (including charities that are registered as Companies) are required to file statutory accounts at Companies House. These accounts must be compliant with the Companies Act (2006), I can help prepare statutory company accounts which comply with the regulations.

Community Interest Companies (CIC’s) have similar filing requirements to companies but must also file a Community Interest Company Report with their accounts. Once again, I can provide advice to ensure that the necessary requirements are met.

Cooperatives: often, these organisations are registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1968, or the Friendly Societies Act 1974. Such organisations are required to file accounts with the Financial Services Authority. Where annual income is greater than £90,000 the accounts need to be signed-off by a registered auditor, even where the entity is audit exempt (the full rules are not quite as simple as this). This means that I can only be engaged by such entities to prepare the accounts where the annual income is less than £90,000.

Picture of Calculator, pens and laptop on a desk - Paul provides accountancy services including general consultancy, system reviews, risk review, management accounts, Statutory Accounts Preparations Independent examinations, Preparation for audit and Taxation including VAT - Paul Cowham Accountancy - Manchester based accountant specialising in the charity and social enterprise sectors

Independent examinations

Charities with an annual income of between £25,000 and £1,000,000 are required to have their accounts independently examined (please note that the exact requirements are, once again, not quite as simple as this). Where income is greater than £250,000, the examination must be carried out by a qualified accountant. I am experienced in carrying out independent examinations and also see this as an opportunity to provide useful recommendations which address issues identified during the course of the examination.

Preparation for audit

I decided against becoming a registered auditor, but I do have many years experience of audit work and can help your organisation to prepare for an audit. For an expanding organisation that has not had an audit before, the first year of audit can be a challenging experience. I can also prepare statutory accounts and an audit file to make the audit process more efficient and cost effective.


I am available to help train those responsible for book keeping. Additionally I can train trustees so that they understand their responsibilities, including effective financial oversight.

Taxation including VAT

These areas can be very detailed and complex, so where necessary I engage the services of specialists in these fields. However, I am conversant with some of the common problems that charities face in connection with VAT, charity trading and gift aid and I can help by providing advice in these areas or by identifying where specialist assistance is necessary.

I can help VAT registered organisations by ensuring that their systems for accounting for VAT are fit for purpose. I also provide help when it comes to VAT returns.

Finally, I can prepare and file corporation tax for small companies and CIC’s, whose taxation requirements are reasonably straightforward.

I think that covers everything. However, if there is anything you need to know, or if I can be of immediate assistance to you, please e-mail me and I will contact you promptly.

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