A study of a sample of charities with incomes over £500,000 found that only 71 per cent had managed to get all the financial information correct on their annual return.
The Charity Commission looked at a sample of 106 charities, and compared information in their annual return with their annual report and accounts. Only 75 charities had got all parts of the annual return correct.
The regulator found that some charities had compiled annual accounts based on the wrong guidance, while others had not correctly matched their annual return to their statement of financial activities.
More than half the charities which got it wrong in 2016 continued to make mistakes in 2017.
The sample of charities was one of three taken by the regulator to look at the accuracy of annual returns. Another sample found that 38 per cent of small charities – those with incomes under £25,000 – had failed to provide information that matched their accounts. Of these, 16 per cent had not prepared accounts at all, or were unwilling to share them with the Charity Commission.
Nigel Davies, head of accountancy policy at the charity commission, said: “Not providing accurate financial information is misleading and can have an impact on public trust. People want to know how charities spend their money; so this result is clearly not good enough.”