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Financial health checks

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An occasional check is a very good way of ensuring that staff are working well. Lax conditions often arise when no one appears to be interested in a particular area of the organisation. Anybody with common sense could be asked by the committee or manager to undertake a financial health check. We have detailed below the main topics that should be covered.


Read the objectives of the charity in the constitution and check that the activities and fundraising applications fall within the stated objectives. If there is a problem it may be necessary to revise the constitution or change the activities of the charity.

Achieving outputs

Is the charity doing what it is being paid to do? Ask for copies of all the funding agreement application forms and letters applying for funding. Make a list of the services that the charity has agreed to provide and a list of what has been provided. What do you still have to provide? Can it be done within the time provided for in the funding agreements?


A budget should be drawn up before the start of each financial year and approved by the management committee. If events are significantly different from those forecast then the budget may need revising during the year.

Management committee

The committee needs a report at least every three months comparing income and expenditure with the budget. This helps to ensure that the charity does not over spend and run out of money during the year.


The organisation should have a competent active treasurer and trustees should be aware of their financial responsibilities as detailed in Charity Commission leaflet CC3a.

Cash expenditure

Cash income – coins and pound notes – and cash expenditure are the areas where voluntary organisations have the most difficulty. Months after an event organisations can be totally baffled as to how money was spent, or what the total amount of income and expenditure was. Payments by cheque are much simpler because copies of cheques can always be obtained from the bank.

Cash expenditure should be kept to a minimum. If it exceeds £100 a month in an organisation with a turnover of less than £30,000 consideration should be given to what payments could be made by cheque in future.

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Last updated: Mon, Mar 31 2008 - 03:00:22 PM

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