What is Independent examination? Independent examination is a form of external scrutiny suitable for smaller charities. The role of the examiner is to provide an independent scrutiny of the accounts and, in this way, help maintain public trust and confidence in charities.
At what point does an examiner need to be qualified to be scrutinise our accounts? If your income is above £250,000 or your accounts are produced on an accruals basis, you need someone with a professional qualification from the list specified by the Charity Regulators. Full Members of ACIE are one of the listed groups. You should ensure that your examiner has a good understanding of FRS102 and the Charities SORP(FRS102) and commensurate practical experience of accruals-based accounting.
Does and examiner have to be a qualified accountant in every case? An independent examiner does not always need to be a professional accountant. A person with ‘financial awareness’ and ‘numeracy skills’ should have the requisite ability to act as an independent examiner for Receipts and Payments accounts. The trustees should satisfy themselves that the examiner does have ability commensurate with the size of the charity and the complexity of its financial statements.
Will I have to pay for an Independent Examination? In most cases, yes, but not always; we have a number of members who act on a voluntary basis (i.e. who do not charge for their services or who only charge expenses).