Finance worker

Many small charities with turnovers up to £250,000 employ a part-time admin/finance worker. This model works for many small charities, but often success or failure with this type of post is determined by getting the balance right between the administration and finance elements.

There is no golden rule: creating the job description will depend on each charity’s unique situation. However, CASH has produced this factsheet to enable groups to identify the key tasks of a finance worker in a small charity.

Some organisations will choose for tasks to be completed monthly, others will choose quarterly. Amend as appropriate.

One of the key functions of the Finance Worker is to administer the payroll. CASH advises groups to use a payroll service. CASH operates a payroll service. See Accountancy Services.

We have a factsheet that covers the main responsibilities and gives key dates. See CASHFACTS Payroll: CASH’s advice & guidance.

Even when using a payroll service an organisation has to ensure that monthly and annual tasks are completed and can be fined by (HMRC) if they aren’t done by the due date. You are also responsible for supplying the correct information to the payroll service.

  • Draw up draft annual budgets for the management of the organisation, to be completed two full months before the end of the financial year See CASHFACTS Budgets
  • Draw up draft budgets for fundraising See CASHFACTS Fundraising
  • Maintain proper books of account and undertake a bank reconciliation on a monthly/quarterly basis See CASHFACTS Bookkeeping & CASHFACTS Bank reconciliation
  • Ensure that the bookkeeping system and audited accounts comply with the requirements of the Charities Acts and any additional practices requested by the management committee or senior worker or directed by legislation See CASHFACTS: Audit & independent examination
  • Check, balance and sign the Petty Cash Book on a monthly basis. Report any discrepancies to the line manager/treasurer See CASHFACTS Accounting for cash
  • Review the cash flow on a monthly/quarterly basis, schedule payments and arrange for the transfer of funds between accounts as appropriate
  • Arrange for the payment of bills on a weekly/monthly basis
  • Check that appropriate rises are paid to staff on scale posts including inflationary increases, incremental increases approved by the management committee and changes to London weighting.
  • Either instruct the payroll service on a monthly basis and oversee their work or maintain a payroll system according to HMRC requirements, details of monthly tasks and key dates are in CASHFACTS Payroll: CASH’s advice & guidance
  • Check monthly that correct payments are being made to HMRC, if they are not your organisation will accrue fines
  • Undertake an analysis of unit costs as required
  • For each major grant and/or cost centre compare on a monthly basis the budgeted income and expenditure with actual income and expenditure
  • Produce and present a quarterly comparison of expenditure and income against the budget for the management committee, together with a balance sheet, all within one month of each quarter’s end
  • Liaise with the chairperson (or treasurer) from time-to-time
  • Prepare documents and schedules for the independent examiner or auditor and liaise with them See CASHFACTS Audit and independent examination
  • Check from time-to-time and at least annually that adequate insurance cover is taken out for the organisation or make written recommendations to the senior worker/treasurer
  • Each year give employees a P60 and ensure that annual submissions have been made to HMRC, including details of employee benefits and expenses and updated employee record details See CASHFACTS Payroll: CASH’s advice & guidance
  • Undertake an annual assessment of volunteer expenses, tutor fees, and other payments to individuals to ensure that your organisation has no tax liability See CASHFACTS Charity tax: an introduction
  • Ensure that the organisation is registered for VAT if your VAT taxable turnover is more than £85,000, submit returns and pay in line with your VAT online account
  • Ensure that the organisation is getting the maximum VAT relief and it’s being claimed (through registration if deemed appropriate, though you don’t have to register for VAT to claim back VAT See CASHFACTS Charity tax: an introduction
  • At the end of the financial year if your organisation is a charitable company submit an annual return online to Companies House (now called a confirmation statement)
  • At the end of the financial year if your organisation is a charitable company file annual accounts online with Companies House.
  • Submit annual return online to the Charity Commission based on whether you are an unincorporated charity, a charitable company, a trust or charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), the Charity Commission has a web page that lists what you are required to submit depending on your organisation’s type
  • HMRC will issue an exemption from completing an annual corporation tax return if they agree that an organisation’s purposes are exclusively charitable.  Once you are registered with HMRC you won’t be required to fill out an annual corporation tax return unless you make a profit that isn’t covered by exemptions (though HMRC can ask charitable companies, unincorporated organisations and charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) to fill out a corporation tax form from time-to-time).  See CASHFACTS Charity tax: an introduction
  • Check that the organisation is registered with HMRC for Gift Aid and so it can claim back 25p in the £1 made by individual taxpayers.
  • Check at least annually that reserves are invested in a risk-free account and receiving a good rate of interest
  • Ensure that the organisation’s financial controls are observed and good current practice; review the financial procedures and controls of the organisation annually and report in writing to the senior worker
  • Review the organisation’s reserves policy annually and make recommendations to the senior worker., including an assessment of the redundancy cost that would be incurred if the organisation were to close and an assessment of other contractual liabilities such as property leases and equipment lease-purchase agreements
  • Maintain a fixed asset register See CASHFACTS Fixed-asset register


CASHFACTS Finance worker is reviewed at the start of every financial year. It may be amended throughout the year. If you want to be informed of major updates subscribe to CASH eNEWS or follow/like us on Twitter and Facebook.


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