There are strict requirements for the accounts of housing associations and private registered providers of social housing, so having a knowledgeable accountant will be a worthwhile investment for your non-profit.
But what should you look for in an accountant for housing associations? How should you go about choosing one?
In this article, we’ll discuss what to look for to help you choose a good accountant. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
If you are setting up a housing association, the structure of your association is an important consideration. Some people approach the process wanting to be the sole trustee, but this is not always the best option. Having a board of trustees (they don’t have to be paid) can be a beneficial option if you are inexperienced with management.
Your accountant will be able to help you structure your housing association in such a way that it benefits your business going forward.
Experience with SORPs
When it comes to accounting and housing associations, Statement of Recommended Practices (SORPs) interpret the recommended practices for accounting and financial reporting. It’s important that the accountant you choose has experience with SORPs and can apply the best practices to your association.
The SORPs detail things like what is and is not included in operating surplus, and they clarify when undue cost or effort is excluded from valuations.
Experience in the social housing sector
Since social housing is provided by the likes of not-for-profit organisations and local councils, the accounting requirements are different to for-profit companies in the housing sector. So, in addition to expertise in SORPs, your accountant should also have experience working in the social housing sector specifically.
The private and not-for-profit housing sectors are different. There are affordable housing incentives and other grants available with social housing.
Your accountant’s experience working with housing associations should stand you in good stead for specialised advice.
Your accountant should be able to tell you about the funding, grants and incentives available to you from the Government and other charities. They should also be able to help you understand how you can minimise your tax liability with tax reliefs. For example, it may be possible to reduce corporation tax liabilities.
If you are setting up, the right accountant for your housing association will be able to help you structure your company in a tax efficient way. It’s important to choose an accountant who has experience with SORPs and housing associations.