Charity audit reports are your shop window, what will your donors see?

By Russ Byrd

Russ Byrd

A recent report from the Charities Commission identified that 50% of a snapshot of charity audits reviewed failed to meet the regulator’s external scrutiny benchmark.

This raised an interesting discussion with our Audit & Assurance department to see how we approach the complex and somewhat sensitive conversations, and the important role as advisors we play in making sure we don’t let the profession or the charity down.

Audit Partner Russel Byrd says “The information disclosed in a set of Charity accounts can afford to be a bit more detailed than that of corporate audit reports, where the information can be used by competitors to force a market advantage. Charities, I see, should use the Trustees report  as a ‘shop window’ for donors to look into the charity so they can see where in fact their money could be spent by looking at the achievements for the past 12 months and the objectives for the next 12 months.”

Charities have seen a significant decline in donations from 2017 to 2019 and this has been linked to people’s growing lack of trust and lack of knowledge of where their money is being spent. As Trustees of local charities ourselves, and having a number of charity clients, we are confident that we advise our Trustees correctly and provide a full transparent audit report, helping them to show potential new and existing donors how funds are used to support the charity.

As elected Trustees on their own chosen charities, the Partners at Randall & Payne perform voluntary Treasurer roles and ensure that extra time is given to provide a detailed annual report but, as the Charities Commission have found, not all professional bodies, whether being remunerated or as a voluntary service, do. Don’t be afraid to question the detail and get the most from your Trustees report as it can encourage donors to “shop “ with you and not elsewhere.

Russel Byrd Head of Audit and Assurance and is always happy to talk through any concerns you may have over a coffee here at Chargrove House. Simply call 01242 766000 and chat to him or a member of his experienced team, or email russel.byrd@randall-payne.co.uk

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