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The use of UK charity accounts data for researching the performance of voluntary organisations

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The published accounts of charities offer a fruitful data source for voluntary sector researchers. This paper presents a critique of some of the risks associated with charity accounts data. It argues that without proper consideration of these risks, research using charity accounts may offer less certainty than is often assumed. It nevertheless highlights ways in which charity accounts can be used with a reasonable level of confidence. Finally, the paper discusses more broadly the central purpose of charity financial reporting and the extent to which this may or may not align with the needs of researchers.
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Keywords: CHARITIES SORP; CHARITY ACCOUNTS; IFRS; RESEARCH METHODS; VOLUNTARY SECTOR MAPPING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2011

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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