December 2017 Essential Not for Profit News

22 December 2017

Charity Finance Audit Survey

The results of the 2017 Charity Finance Audit Survey have been published in the December 2017 edition of Civil Society. The annual survey compiles feedback from charities and lists the audit firms which excel in the not-for-profit sector. Our audit partner, Sudhir Singh, has been quoted several times in the article and MHA MacIntyre Hudson was ranked in the top 5 firms for Charity Expertise with 10-30 responses.

Reporting of relevant matters of interest – Charity Commission guidance

The Charity Commission has issued a publication providing examples of what auditors and independent examiners should consider to be ‘relevant matters of interest’ and details of how to report said matters to the relevant charity regulator. 

While the report is aimed at auditors and independent examiners in particular, it outlines the important difference between what matters must be reported – matters of material significance for which separate guidance exists - and what matters may be reported – based on the auditor’s or independent examiner’s judgement – that may be of interest to all in the sector. 

Essential Charity Finance for Trustees 

Last month, we collaborated with the Charity Finance Group to launch a free guide on Essential Charity Finance for trustees. The comprehensive guide discusses the accounting, reporting and external requirements for Charities and details the financial strategy, governance and financial reporting issues which trustees should be aware of. 

Included in the guide is a charity finance checklist for trustees, which aims to ensure that a strong framework is in place to support good financial management. The guide also stresses that while financial management can be delegated, financial responsibility cannot be and details the qualities that characterise a trustee who is effective in overseeing the finance of their charity. 

These are:

  • Purposeful, by using financial strategy to balance the needs of current beneficiaries against future beneficiaries; 
  • Knowledgeable, by having a clear understanding of the charity’s business model through regular consultation with staff or volunteers;  
  • Inquiring, by asking the difficult questions required to get all the information needed to make the right decisions;
  • Objective, by putting the needs of the charity above personal beliefs and preferences and ensuring there are no conflicts of interest; and
  • Analytical, by using information and data to come to appropriately supported decision and to act efficiently and effectively.

Pensions Briefing invite:

The Government introduced pensions freedoms in April 2016. These apply to all schemes including Defined Benefit (DB) also known as Final Salary schemes. Many people aged over 55 will have built up some years in a DB scheme but are no longer contributing. The existing approach is that benefits built up are preserved (or deferred) until the person reaches their normal retirement age. Before the new Freedoms arrived in 2016 there was little choice for members except to stay in a DB scheme and wait for the pension to start when they retired. Meanwhile, employers have had to continue to fund any shortfall in the future cost of these pensions. We have arranged a briefing to be held at 14:00 on 19 January 2018, at our offices in Blackfriars. Please contact us if you would like to attend.