As a trustee it’s a vital governance responsibility to ensure the safe stewardship of your organisation’s assets. OSCR have some great guidance on Banking for Charities and SCVO have just updated our charity bank account comparison table.
It doesn’t just feature the high street banks. There’s also some smaller banks which specialise in running accounts for community groups and charities. Whilst some might not be household names, they’re still worth looking at as they generally have an arrangement which allows you to manage your account at a high street bank.
You need to choose an account which offers the services your organisation needs. Find out about charges and processes, eg how do you change a signatory? Check if the account requires a high minimum deposit which may be of no use to very small organisations. It’s also important to consider whether your account offers online dual authorisation. To protect against fraud, any online payments should be approved by at least two people for additional security.
And what about ethical banking? Should your banking policy reflect your charitable objectives? Should you consider your bank’s social and environmental stance? Determining ethics can be difficult as it can be subjective, but it is something to consider. A good place to start can be to look at your mission and then try to ensure your bank’s practices don’t run contrary to that.
Many of the high street banks offer special accounts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, and most offer free banking as long as your account is in credit. But it’s important not to just necessarily go with one of the big banks that you recognise, or bank with personally.
Organisations, just like individuals, tend to stay with the bank they’ve always been with, for fear of extra work and hassle, or a dread that something will go wrong if they switch. But don’t be complacent and stick with a bank if it’s not coming up with the goods. Organisations with a turnover of less than £6.5 million and fewer than 50 employees can use the free Current Account Switch Service This makes switching from one bank to another simpler, reliable and hassle-free.