Independent Examination of Charity Accounts

We offer a service of Independent Examination of charity accounts. Independent examination is the alternative to a full audit by a firm of registered auditors.  It is available for most charities up to £1M income in England and Wales or up to £500,000 income in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dr Gareth Morgan is a Fellow of the Association of Charity Independent Examiners and an Academic Fellow of the Association of International Accountants, and is thus permitted under the legislation to act as independent examiner (IE) for charities up to the maximum size for independent examination.  He has over 30 years of work in the charity sector, specialising in charity accounting.  As well as acting as IE to a wide range of charities, he offers training and professional backup to other IEs.

Independent examination is slightly simpler than a full audit, and can be undertaken by a wider range of people, but it is still an extremely thorough form of scrutiny, with the requirements laid down by legislation, and in England & Wales by the Directions of the Charity Commission (13 stages) and by detailed reporting duties set out in regulations.  Requirements in Scotland and Northern Ireland are similar, but with important differences.  An IE gives a professional opinion on your accounts, in the form of a detailed report in the financial statements similar to an audit report.  Almost all funders of charitable organisations are nowadays happy to accept independently examined accounts for charities in the relevant income bands.

At Kubernesis we have experience of providing independent examinations for all types of charities including:

  • Service-providing charities with a range of grant and contract income
  • Grant-making trusts (including some with complex investment portfolios)
  • Churches and other faith-based organisations
  • Voluntary sector infrastructure organisations
  • Charities with non-charitable subsidiaries.

Through our Advice Service we also offer support to other independent examiners.

It is not enough for an IE to have an accounting background – a charity IE must have extensive experience of charity accounting, and this is central to our work at Kubernesis.  There are also important differences between charities subject to English charity law and those subject to Scottish charity law, but Gareth Morgan has experience of acting as IE under both systems (including acting for dual-registered charities subject to both regimes).  We are happy to act for smaller charities using receipts and payments accounts and for medium-sized charities whose accounts must be prepared under the Charities SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice on Accounting and Reporting by Charities).

In most cases we are engaged to prepare the Trustees Report and Accounts in the format needed, as well as to act as IE, but we are very happy to accept enagements to act as IE only where the charity has staff or trustees able to handle the accounts preparation.

Who can opt for Independent Examination?

Independent examination normally applies to charities from £25,000 to £1M income in England and Wales, or up to £500,000 income in Scotland and Northern Ireland with  no lower limit.  A few charities below the upper limits may need an audit – for example if this is a requirement in your governing document or if the charity has over £3.26M of assets (but we can advise on this).  Below £25,000 in England, the charity may still request an independent examination to satisfy members or funders.  We can act as IE for all types of charities including CIOs/SCIOs and charitable companies.

In most cases we can offer a fixed price based on the charity’s income.  For more details please call 01368 864582 or complete the form on the Contact Us page.

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