3. Branch finances

Bank or Building Society Account

Historically, branches tended to have a bank or building society account in the full name of the branch. i.e. The British Association for Early Childhood Education ……..…………………. Branch.  

Our preference for new branches, and any existing branches which opt to, is that funds are held in the main Early Education bank accounts.  Head office can provide summary financial data for branch income and expenditure on request.  As all bookings are now taken centrally, this reduces the administrative load for branches and makes annual accounting easier for both branches and head office.

Where a branch has an account:

  • Cheques must have ‘The British Association for Early Childhood Education’ and ‘Registered Charity Number: 313082’ in the bottom right hand corner, above the line for signatures.
  • There should be three signatories for the account, two of whom must sign each cheque.
  • The branch must complete and return the Branch Bank Account Details form to central office (see pro formas)


Early Education is accountable for all financial matters in branches. Charity law requires all branches which hold their own bank account to keep accurate accounts. These do not have to be complicated or difficult to manage. They can be a simple income and expenditure account showing a credit or deficit balance.

A responsible person, not related to any branch officer, should check the branch accounts and sign to say they have done so.  This is not a formal audit and does not need to be carried out by an accountant.  It could be done by someone with experience of finance matters such as a school business manager.

In the interests of transparency, the accounts must be presented either at the branch Annual General Meeting or at a committee meeting, if no AGM is held. To be incorporated in the national audit, audited branch accounts must be sent to Early Education’s head office by 31 May each year.

An electronic income and expenditure pro forma is provided.

Branch closure

In the event of a branch closure the bank account should be closed and the balance of funds returned to Early Education with a final audited account. The balance of funds can then be used to support the work of Early Education.

Branch Income

National income sources

National income is generated through membership fees and donations, sale of publications, conferences and grants from funding bodies to support Early Education’s work. The income must cover the cost of running central office, supporting members, committee expenses and providing information, publications and resources.  The annual membership subscription is agreed by the Board of Trustees and includes membership of branches, who receive an annual rebate towards their costs.

Sources of income for branches

  • Start up grant – Branches will normally be eligible for a small start up grant to contribute to the costs of starting a new branch.

  • Branch rebate – Dependent on national finances, branches usually receive an annual rebate for every local member, in recognition of the reduced rates members’ enjoy when they attend branch events.

  • Grants and donations – Branches may be able to obtain local grants and donations. Some branches are supported by their local authority early years team, or by local companies.  Branches may also be able to apply for funding for local events and activities from organisations such as the Big Lottery Fund

  • Fees for attending branch events – Income will mainly come from fees charged for branch events.  Non-members’ entrance fees to branch events must be set at a rate that will make it advantageous to become a member.  

    When setting fees for a conference or event, it is helpful to put together a budget.  Estimate any conference costs carefully; hire of premises, fees and expenses of speakers, printing, publicity and refreshments. Divide these costs between the estimated number of participants. Under, rather than over-estimate the number of participants, as profits are easy to use but losses are very difficult to absorb.

Other fundraising activities are at local branch or regional discretion.  The staff at central office can advise branches and regions on fundraising opportunities.

Branch expenditure

Annual budget

The branch committee should set a budget for their planned activities for the year. This will include such things as:

  • Premises for meetings and events – members may offer their settings for meetings and events. Alternatively, local authorities may have rooms to hire at minimum cost.
  • Speakers – fees, travel expenses and subsistence should be offered. Costs may be minimised by using local speakers or Associates.
  • Travel – branch funds could be set aside to assist members with travel and costs to attend Early Education’s national conferences or events.
  • Other – occasional ad hoc costs for mailings and flyers may sometimes be beneficial to boost awareness locally, although most publicity is now done via email and social media.

Travel expenses for attending regional meetings

Meetings of branch officers with head office staff and trustees will normally be online.  If face to face meetings are held, Early Education will cover all reasonable and essential expenses which are necessary to enable branch and regional representatives to attend regional meetings, provided they are cleared in advance. In order to ensure that best use is made of Early Education resources and that all Early Education expenditure is controlled, all ticket purchases should be based on cost effectiveness and value for money and the most economical forms of transport should be used.

All receipts with claims for travel expenses should be sent to central office.

Use of branch funds

Branch funds should be used to benefit members, for example by supporting a branch member to represent the branch at a national event. It is recommended that branches do not build up large reserves. Where branch accounts are over £2000 the branch could plan a special event or regional conference or transfer funds to Early Education’s central funds where it can be used to support the organisation’s general activities.