Charity Financials

Charity Financials aims to be the most comprehensive financial database of not for profit organisations in the UK.

It includes all charities registered in England and Wales (encompassing charitable independent schools), all Higher Education Institutions in the UK (universities) and our database of the largest charities registered in Scotland.

Primary focus is made on the ‘top 7,000’ charitable organisations for which we collect detailed financial breakdowns, major decision makers and the adviser firms which provide their professional services in the capacity of audit, legal, investment and banking.

Charity Financials receives a copy of all registered charities in England and Wales on a monthly basis from the Charity Commission, which is a database of around 163,000 organisations, meaning this site contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Charities that fit the criteria for providing a full annual return have 10 months to file their documents with the Charity Commission. Once the accounts have been received and processed by the Charity Commission, Charity Financials will analyse and upload the data within 60 days.

The population

The top charities are defined by an internal classification which analyses the total income, expenditure and fund/net asset positions for each charity. The highest position (of any of the 3 criteria) is defined as that organisation’s ‘true rank’ position. (It is therefore possible to have 3 different organisations with a true rank position of ‘1’ where different organisations have the highest income, highest expenditure and highest funds value). The true ranks are then sorted ascending and we take the top 5,000 of these to define the top 5,000 population. Each of these is researched and the financial, adviser and staff data is collected and stored in our database. This is executed on a monthly basis and over the year there are organisations which come in and fall out as the cut-offs and database changes. In addition to these organisations are 160 universities and around 280 charitable independent schools (in the latter case where income exceeds £10m or investments exceeds £1m).

Every organisation with over £500k of income has to fill in the “Part B” questionnaire to the Charity Commission. This creates a wider financial database of incoming and outgoing resources along with a breakdown of the balance sheets. Although this is not as comprehensive as the Charity Financials database, we utilise this data to create a combined database of around 10,000 charities with a financial breakdown.

For the remaining 152,000 we include the total income and total expenditure for each organisation as supplied to the Charity Commission.

The financial data

The financial structure displayed on reflects SORP 2005 (Statement of Recommended Practice) to ensure accuracy and consistency throughout the data capture process. (all charities must follow the structure defined by the SORP). Financial headings as denoted by SORP (e.g. voluntary income) are further subdivided to ensure that the most granular data available is captured. This level of detail is maintained for each organisation which we identify as a top 5,000 charity (as mentioned above) which represents over 65% of the total income received by all 162,000 charities. The secondary level also mentioned above which comes from the Part B file represents the next 20% of total income.

The rankings

On charity entries and benchmarking, Charity Financials includes ranking columns for every financial field. Where organisations do not have a value associated to a financial field they will not have a corresponding rank. Charities can use these rankings to show changes in the financial positions of any revenue stream over time within the context of the entire database. Rankings are deterministic – that is, the same ranking values are assigned to rows with the same sort values. The ranking values contain ‘gaps’ in the ranking values allowing users to know how many rows/organisations have lower sort values (higher ranks).

Rankings on charity and adviser entries are based on the latest data available. This is to prevent gross miscalculations in the ranking values where populations are not complete.

The grouping of year ends

Examining the year ends of the top 5,000 charities shows that over 70% fall between December and March. For comparison purposes these charities should not be split. Charity Financials therefore groups accounting years that fall between July 1st and June 30th.