Free accounting aid to Southland charities

Last updated 05:00 03/04/2013

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Southland charities are being offered free accounting systems support to help them meet strict new financial reporting standards.

An Invercargill BDO-led initiative, "As Easy as ABC - Assisting the Back Office in Charities", was launched yesterday and is backed by the Department of Internal Affairs - Charities, and ASB.

The programme will provide registered Southland charities and not-for-profit organisations streamlined accounting systems and basic back office support.

Under proposed changes to financial reporting regulations not-for-profit organisations will be required to provide financial reports to Charities in line with a set of specified standards.

A format for the new standards is expected to be released this year and mandatory reporting requirements will start in April 2015.

Invercargill BDO partner and not-for-profit sector spokesman Greg Thomas said Southland charities needed help.

The biggest problem was inconsistency in financial information which would not be acceptable under the new financial reporting regime, Mr Thomas said.

He said the BDO programme was about giving back to the organisations that served the community.

"Our charities do excellent work and deserve the donations they receive yet they face enormous financial management challenges.

"If New Zealand's culture of giving is to thrive, the public must be confident their money is being used safely," Mr Thomas said.

He said Southland charities would benefit from "tooling up the team by implementing easy-to-use accounting systems".

To be eligible for the programme an organisation must be a registered charity or entity that had a formal structure and had been established for philanthropic reasons for charity, sport or community purposes.

Any interest in the programme must be registered by the end of this month.

Department of Internal Affairs - Charities general manager Brendon Ward said the initiative was timely because charities needed to be planning ahead and have appropriate support in place.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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