This article was published in 2016, in Newsletter 125.
The Charity Commission requires that any charity with a turnover of £25,000 or more must have its accounts examined independently. The Campaign’s accounts for the financial year to the end of last September passed this figure for the first time, but as the accounts were only finalised a few days before the AGM last December the examination couldn’t be completed in time for the report to be presented to the meeting.
The examination was carried out by Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England), based in Ely. They are themselves a charity and provide some financial services, including payroll and accounts examination, for other charitable and community organisations.
The Charity Commission provides a set of directions on how to carry out an independent examination and these were followed by the Cambs ACRE examiner. He reported in January in a form similar to an auditor’s report.
To summarise the examiner’s statement which concludes the short report: nothing came to his attention that gave him reason to believe we have failed to keep adequate accounting records or that we have not prepared accounts in accordance with those records and with the requirements of the 2011 Charities Act. He also stated that he had found nothing to which attention should be drawn in order properly to understand the accounts. While the examination doesn’t go into the accounts in the same detail as an audit, the process can give members and others some degree of confidence that the accounts presented at the AGM are an accurate representation of the Campaign’s finances.