Independent examination of charity accounts: Directions and guidance for examiners (CC32) 

The Charity Commission has today published updated guidance setting out how to carry out an independent examination of charity accounts. Independent examination of charity accounts: Directions and guidance for examiners (CC32) updates the Commission’s previous publication published in June 2015, and takes into account comments from a public consultation on the draft guidance which ran from 3 June 2016 to 30 September 2016. Feedback from the consultation has also been published today. 

The new Directions and guidance are mandatory for independent examiner reports signed and dated on or after 1 December 2017. This is to allow time for examiners to familiarise themselves with the guidance. However, early adoption is encouraged.

As proposed in the consultation, the new guidance includes 3 new Directions that must be followed by examiners:

  • Direction 2 sets out requirements for examiner independence; examiners must check for any conflicts of interest that may prevent them from carrying out the independent examination
  • Direction 7 requires examiners to check that related party transactions in ‘SORP accounts’ are properly disclosed
  • Direction 9 requires examiners to check whether the trustees have considered the charity’s financial circumstances when preparing the accounts, and for ‘SORP accounts’ whether the trustees have made an assessment of the charity’s position as a going concern

To support examiners, detailed and clear guidance is given about how to meet each of the Directions. Having taken into account consultation responses from a number of professional accountancy bodies, umbrella charities and a working party on independent examination, the Commission has made a number of improvements to the final guidance. This includes publishing a brand new checklist alongside the guidance to help independent examiners meet all the necessary requirements when undertaking an examination. The guidance also includes a framework for the independent examination of small charity group accounts for the first time, as well as an expanded range of example examiner’s reports, advice on fund accounting, and guidance for examiners about helping charities with accounts preparation and record keeping.

Charities ‘missing vital opportunity’ to show how they benefit the public

Telling your story well: public benefit reporting by charities 

The Charity Commission has today (21 April 2017) published the findings of its work to scrutinise charity accounts, finding that 54% of those reviewed did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement. The regulator says these charities. Click here for the full story. (21/04/17)

Accounts monitoring: Do charity annual reports and accounts meet the reader’s needs?

The purpose of the trustees’ annual report and accounts is tell the reader what the charity is set up to do, what it achieved and how it spent its money. Three quarters of a sample of 107 sets of charity accounts filed with us provided basic information on charitable activities. They showed how the trustees had used the charity’s money and included either an audit or independent examination report. A quarter of charities failed to provide this basic information and fell well short of the standard the public has every right to expect. The main reasons why these sets of accounts failed to meet our basic standard were that either the annual report did not explain the charity’s activities to achieve its objectives or that the accounts did not balance or were incomplete. (21/04/17)

Reporting matters of material significance: guidance for auditors and examiners

New enhanced joint guidance from UK charity regulators sets out what auditors and independent examiners must report

The new guidance adds 2 new areas for reporting:
  1. If an auditor has concerns regarding a charity’s accounts and issues a modified audit opinion report or qualified independent examiner’s report.
  2. Where an auditor has concerns that conflicts of interests or related party transactions have not been properly managed or declared.
  3. Matter 8* from the previous list of matters to be reported has been removed. This is due to the fact that this led to auditors and independent examiners advising the regulator where they had simply ceased to hold office. Where ceasing to hold office occurs due to a reportable matter this is covered by an alternative matter 
Click here to access a full copy of the guidance

*Matter 8: “Any notification or matter reported to the trustees on resigning as independent examiner or matter that the examiner is aware of on resignation or ceasing to act that falls within the categories of the previously set out reportable matters, or for examiners the notification on ceasing to hold office or resigning from office, of those matters reported to trustees”.

News and updates from the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland

Thematic report outlines why some bodies fail to be registered as charities

A new report by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has outlined the reasons why some charity registration applications fail.

Entitled, Refused entry to the register: understanding why, the report explains how the law is applied during the charity registration process.  

Case studies are included to give those applying for charity registration a sense of what is and isn’t a charity, and what has led to the Commission refusing 39 registration applications to date. There are now over 5,500 charities on the register.

New report explains what makes a good public benefit statement

A new thematic report from the Commission outlines what makes a good public benefit statement.

For an organisation to successfully achieve charity status, it must demonstrate, successfully, that it meets the public benefit requirement. This is done through the public benefit section of the charity registration process.

The report provides four case studies – two of poor public benefit statements and two of good ones – to demonstrate to those potential charities going through the registration process how best to approach this crucial task.

News and updates from OSCR

Charities and Auto-Enrolment - what you need to know

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has produced new guidance for Scottish charities about pension auto-enrolment.

Every employer in the UK, including charities, must put certain paid employees into an appropriate pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called 'auto-enrolment'.

This guidance is aimed at small and medium charities with paid employees. It lets charity trustees know their legal responsibilities in relation to auto-enrolment by explaining some of the basic requirements.

The guidance tells trustees:

  • What auto-enrolment is

  • What a charity has to do

  • Where to get more help and advice

You can view ‘Charities and Auto-Enrolment – what you need to know’ here.

Scottish fundraising regulation: what's so different?

Scotland’s self-regulatory system of fundraising was launched in July 2016.

Recently, we interviewed Alison Elliot, Chair of the Independent Fundraising Standards and Adjudication Panel for Scotland, who answered questions about Scottish fundraising regulation. Alison also gives advice to the public and charities about the fundraising concern procedure.

News and updates from the Charity Commission for England & Wales

Claiming a top-up payment on small charitable donations

Before 6 April 2017, you could only claim on small cash donations. Cash donations can be in coins or notes of any currency that have been collected and banked in the UK.

From 6 April 2017, you can also claim on donations made using ‘contactless’ technology, such as a contactless credit or debit card.

Independent examiner's report template (SORP FRS 102) charitable company

Use this template when independently examining a charitable company's accounts.

Accruals accounts pack (CC17) - SORP FRS 102 for charitable companies

Template to help company charities with income of £500,000 or less prepare their trustees' annual report and accruals accounts in accordance with Charities SORP FRS 102.

Charity accounting templates: accruals accounts (CC17) SORP FRS 102 for charitable companies

Templates for completing a charitable company's accounts by charitable activity for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015.

Trustees' annual report template (SORP FRS 102) charitable company

A pro-forma charitable company trustees' annual report.

Charities: detailed guidance notes

This guidance has been updated to reflect the rule changes for the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme from 6 April 2017. Chapter 8: The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme is now covered over 2 guides - before 6 April 2017 and from 6 April 2017.

  • Monday, December 12, 2016 4:33 PM | Anne-Marie Barry (Administrator)

    The Charities SORP has become too complex and steps should be taken to ease the burden on smaller charities, according to two bodies that represent the sector.  - Click here to read the full story

  • Monday, December 12, 2016 4:25 PM | Anne-Marie Barry (Administrator)

    Response to the invitation to comment on Research exercise on charities SORP (FRS102) can be found here. SORPResearchExercise.docx.pdf

  • Monday, December 12, 2016 4:22 PM | Anne-Marie Barry (Administrator)

    Looking ahead to 2017 we have dates for our England and Wales conference to be held in London (23rd June 2017) and our Scottish conference in Perth (24th August 2017). Further details to follow.

  • Monday, December 12, 2016 4:14 PM | Anne-Marie Barry (Administrator)

    Almost 96 per cent of small charities which say their accounts are “qualified” when filing them with the Charity Commission have wrongly answered the question, according to new research by Sheffield Hallam University. The study by the university’s business school, found that many small charities wrongly believed “qualified” to mean there were no issues with their accounts – rather than the actual meaning that the auditor or examiner had some reservations. Click here to read the full article.

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