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					                    SCRUTINY OF CHARITY ACCOUNTS
                    Audit and Independent Examination


Choosing an Independent Examiner for the accounts of a charitable
organisation
The Association of Charity Independent Examiners seeks to promote the greater effectiveness of UK charities by
providing support and encouraging professional standards for all persons acting as independent examiners of charity
accounts.

Registered charity number: 1077154

What Checks are Needed on Our Accounts?
Any organisation with charitable status is handling other people's money. The law says that you must therefore
produce accounts each year, and in almost all cases, have those accounts scrutinised by someone completely
independent of the charity.

Isn't That An Audit?
In the past, people have used the term 'audit' to refer to any kind of scrutiny of accounts - sometimes very informal.
But since 1992, a charity audit means a full professional audit by a firm of registered auditors. An audit is compulsory
for charities with more than £250,000 income (£100,000 in Scotland). However, for the vast majority of smaller
charities, the law allows an independent examination, which although covering slightly less than a full audit, is still a
very thorough form of scrutiny. It covers excepted charities (e.g. churches, scout/guide groups) as well as registered
and recognised charities (though it is not allowed for charitable companies).

What is an Independent Examination?
Independent examination is the process of scrutinising a charity's accounts below the level of a professional audit. An
independent examiner will look at your accounts, gain an understanding of the organisation, compare the accounts to
the books, perform various other checks, and write an independent report for circulation with the accounts. The
procedures are laid down by Act of Parliament, by Regulations, and (in England & Wales) by the Directions of the
Charity Commission. Unless your constitution says that you must have a full audit, most funders and donors are very
happy to accept independently examined accounts. If you do not have the skills to produce a full set of accounts
complying with charity law, most independent examiners will help with preparing accounts in the format required, for
approval by your committee or trustees, as well as examining them.

Who Can be an Independent Examiner?
The law defines an Independent Examiner as an independent person who is reasonably believed by the charity trustees
to have the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination of the accounts. The key
issues are independence (not someone closely connected with any trustee), ability and experience (especially
experience of charity accounts) and a willingness to devote the time and effort needed for a competent examination of
the accounts, in accordance with the various regulations on independent examination.

What Sorts of People are Independent Examiners?
Those who act as independent examiners can include:
    professional accountants in practice
    accountants in industry/public sector, retired accountants, etc
    other charity trainers or consultants who provide an independent examination service
    staff in community accountancy projects
    voluntary independent examiners (or those who act for a nominal fee).
Are Specific Qualifications Needed?
Obviously when choosing an independent examiner, you will wish to take into account the person's qualifications and
experience.

The key qualification in the field is the MACIE which denotes Full Membership of the Association of Charity
Independent Examiners. The MACIE is only awarded after a detailed assessment of a person's experience in charity
accounts, under the scrutiny of the ACIE Council (see overleaf). Even for qualified accountants, the MACIE is an
important additional qualification showing that they really understand charity accounts.

How Can We Find a Suitable Independent Examiner?
ACIE operates a referral service for charities seeking independent examiners. Just use the form below or write to the
ACIE office on your charity's letterhead confirming that you are seeking an independent examiner and we will send
you a suitable up to date list of Full Members - there is currently no charge for this. Alternatively, you can purchase the
ACIE Handbook for £10 which includes a directory of all Full Members (as at the date of last revision) and much other
information on the duties of independent examiners. Or for £37 per year you can subscribe and receive all ACIE
newsletters and other publications.



Association of Charity Independent Examiners
Council Members (2004/05):

 Chair:      Revd Alan Clements MA, ACIB, FCIE (Tyne & Wear)
 Vice-Chair: Nicholas Morgan FCA, FCIE
 Treasurer: David Knox BEd, ACIB, FCIE (Cumbria)
 Chair of Membership Committee:
             Adrienne Airlie CA, FCIE (Glasgow)
 Other members of Council:
             Robert Andrews BA(Hons), ACIB, FCIE (Essex)
             Harvinder Josan BA(Hons), ACCA (West Midlands)
             Gwendoline Grayson


 Officers:

 Director:
              Fiona Gordon MA
 Administrator:
              Eric Marsden BA

 Contact information

 Association of Charity Independent Examiners
 Bentley Resource Centre
 High Street
 Bentley
 Doncaster DN5 0AA

 Tel: 01302 828338 Fax: 01302 872973
 e-mail: info@acie.org.uk

 ACIE is itself a registered charity   Registered charity no: 1077154
ENQUIRY FROM A CHARITY


To: Association of Charity Independent Examiners

USE THIS FORM:
    To request details of possible independent examiners for your charity; or
    To join ACIE as an Associate Member yourself; or
    To subscribe to Independent Examiner without becoming a member; or
    To order the ACIE Handbook & Directory; or
    To ask us to send details of ACIE Membership to your current independent examiner or someone you know.

Where payment is involved, please make cheques payable to Association of Charity Independent Examiners.

            We are seeking an Independent Examiner for our accounts. Please send a list of current ACIE Full Members.
             (No charge - However, this service is only available to organisations within the independent examination
             income range, who need an examiner for their own accounts within the next six months. We need the name of
             your charity, the approximate income, and the accounting year - see below.)

            Please supply a copy of the ACIE Handbook and Directory - cost £10 including postage.

            We would like to subscribe to Independent Examiner and all ACIE publications - cost £37. This is mainly for
             organisations wishing to receive ACIE publications without becoming an ACIE voting member.

            Please send details of ACIE Membership to our current independent examiner:

             .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

             .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                      .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
             Multiple copies of the ACIE Membership details are also available for distribution - please call or write.

            Please enrol me as an Associate Member of ACIE - cost £45. (Subsidised terms are available for voluntary
             independent examiners: please call.) ACIE Associate Membership is not a qualification, but entitles you to
             receive all ACIE publications and discounts at ACIE events and commits you to the ACIE Code of Ethics.
             You can subsequently apply for Full Membership if appropriate.

Your name:             ....................

Your charity, firm, or organisation (if applicable): . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Address: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

              ........................................

              ........................................

Telephone:            ....................

For charities seeking an independent examiner:
Approx total income of our charity: £ . . . . . . . . .
Accounting year for which we are seeking an independent examiner (year ending date):     ...........
(NB Independent examination is not possible for charities formed as companies under the Companies Acts.)

Signed:            ....................

Send to: ASSOCIATION OF CHARITY INDEPENDENT EXAMINERS
Bentley Resource Centre, High Street, Bentley, Doncaster DN5 0AA

				
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