The Charity Commission has launched a consultation on a process which will allow charities to submit accounts in digital form.
Charities must already file accounts with HM Revenue & Customs using a system called iXBRL, and have the option of filing with Companies House. The Commission proposals would allow them to file accounts with the regulator in the same way.
iXBRL classifies accounts using a “taxonomy” – a digital listing which defines how computers read the individual items of financial data that are submitted in charity accounts. However the Commission said that smaller organisations may need more help to file digitally, and so it plans to develop accounts templates to help them.
The Commission said that currently 70 per of companies file digital accounts with Companies House, it wants to enable charities to do the same.
It says that digital filing will make it easier and quicker for those charities that have to file with both the commission and Companies House, and will make it easier to analyse charitable accounts.
The option to file accounts by PDF will remain.
Nigel Davies (pictured), head of accountancy services at the Charity Commission, said: “This consultation is an early step and one that should be welcomed by the 35,000 charities that file their accounts with us and Companies House.
“If we can make filing digital accounts possible this will reduce administration for many charities whilst also opening up charity data not just for us but for those with a keen interest in sector trends and data. I hope charity finance professionals will engage with our joint consultation and move us closer to making the option of digital filing a reality."
The consultation will close on 8 December.