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.
Gareth G. Morgan
Gareth G. MorganCentre for Voluntary Sector Research, Sheffield Hallam University, UK