Finance, Finance & law

Key Guides: The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook

Steering a charity's finances can be one of the most challenging roles you'll face in the sector – not least because your aim is to help a charity fulfil its purposes and charity accounting rules are very different from businesses.

This established guide offers you the perfect foundation for being a treasurer even if you are new to charity finance. Covering charity accounting across all four nations of the UK, this sixth edition will help you swiftly gain confidence and knowledge. Comprehensively revised and expanded by new lead author Elaine Alsop, it includes:

  • Current legal and accountancy practice for charities across the UK
  • Annual reporting and charity accounts including compliance with Charities SORP
  • Corporation tax and VAT for charities: what you should be aware of
  • Gift Aid: the benefits and how to get started
  • Fund accounting and reserves
  • Guidance for effective financial planning and management
  • Introduction to risk and controls

Who should buy this book?

With plenty of helpful examples, this guide is suitable for treasurers, finance officers and voluntary sector workers with little or no accounting experience, students and those from other sectors seeking an update on charity accounting.

It is also a vital guide for trustees and charity managers, which will help them understand their own role, that of the staff they oversee, and the charity’s relationship with the external auditor or independent examiner.


‘This is a very reliable book that, over the years, I have found really helpful for dipping into to answer both queries that arise in my work and queries coming in from my charity clients.’

Ian Barrett FCA FCIE, Barretts Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers


‘This plain-English guide will help trustees and managers navigate their way through the myriad of issues that any charity is likely to face. It will help them to make informed decisions, stay compliant and be more effective.’

Simon Bostrom FCIE, Chief Accountant, West Yorkshire Community Accountancy Service CIO


‘Responsibility for the finances of a charity can be a daunting prospect – you need all the help you can get! This comprehensive guide navigates those challenges with clarity and authority while being easy to read. I urge you to learn from it.’

Richard Bray ACA DChA, Chair, The Charity Tax Group


‘Serving as a trusted companion for both seasoned and new treasurers, this book provides a solid foundation of knowledge on the wide range of responsibilities and duties of a charity treasurer. … We hope that, by offering a valuable reference tool, this handbook will inspire new volunteers to take on the office of treasurer and make a meaningful contribution to society.’

Daniel Chan MBE, Chair, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Charity Committee
Kristina Kopic FCA DChA, Head of Charity, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales [from the foreword]


The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook is written in a very accessible manner, balancing the legal, regulatory and finance aspects with practical examples. Well-structured sections and chapters make it easy to find the help needed on specific subjects. It’s a ready reference for new and experienced treasurers, with the updates in the sixth edition being particularly useful.’

Carolyn Cordery, Adjunct Professor, Victoria University of Wellington and Chair, New Zealand Accounting Standards Board


‘Written in an accessible style and helpful format, this comprehensive and incredibly supportive book will be of immense value to charity treasurers and anyone who needs an introduction to charity accountancy, law and processes.’

Jon Dean, Sheffield Hallam University, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network


The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook provides a clear and concise account of charity finance and what charities must comply with and why. It explains all you need to consider to prepare for independent scrutiny. Recommended for charities of all sizes.’

Mark Heaton FCCA FCIE DChA, Chair, Association of Charity Independent Examiners


The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook is an indispensable guide for navigating the intricacies of charity finance in the UK. With clear, practical advice, it empowers treasurers, finance officers, trustees, and charity managers to make informed decisions, ensure compliance, and enhance their effectiveness in fulfilling the organisation’s mission.’

The Interlink Foundation


‘Having worked in the third sector for almost 30 years and served on several charity boards in this time, I find The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to better understand and get to grips with what good financial governance looks like. This handbook brilliantly takes complex concepts and makes them accessible for both the finance novice and more experienced treasurer.’

Neil Mathers,Executive Director for Scotland, Samaritans


‘My copy of the previous version of this handbook was so dog-eared from overuse that I definitely needed a new edition! It’s my first port of call to check facts, which have been updated and comprehensively revised to reflect the world in which we, charity treasurers, now live. I happily recommend this sixth edition of the book to our members and anyone else concerned with charity finances.’

Nicola Silverleaf, Treasurer and Trustee, The Honorary Treasurers Forum 


Look inside

Have a look inside The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook.

About the authors

Elaine Alsop

Elaine is a chartered accountant with 25 years’ experience, and working solely with charities and other third sector organisations for over 15 years. She advises small to medium-sized charities on a wide range of finance and governance issues, including annual reporting and independent examination. She particularly enjoys working closely with trustees to support them in meeting their responsibilities by making charity finance more accessible.

Elaine is a Fellow of the Association of Charity Independent Examiners, holds the ICAEW Diploma in Charity Accounting and has an MSc in Charity Resource Management. In addition to running her accountancy practice, Elaine is the finance manager of a local charity supporting children and a trustee of a women’s charity, providing a well-rounded insight into charity financial management.

Gareth G. Morgan

Gareth has recently retired as Senior Partner of the charity consultants The Kubernesis Partnership LLP, supporting a wide range of organisations in the areas of charity accounting, formation of new charities and other issues of charity regulation.

He is also Emeritus Professor of Charity Studies at Sheffeld Hallam University, where for many years he led the University’s MSc in Charity Resource Management and the inter-faculty Centre for Voluntary Sector Research.

He is the author or co-author of many research papers and articles and is author of two DSC books: The Charity Treasurer’s Handbook and Charitable Incorporated Organisations. He was active for many years in Association of Charity Independent Examiners, the Association of International Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Law Association. He served for six years each on the Charity Technical Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and then on the Charity Expert Panel of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).

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