External scrutiny benchmark
The Charity Commission (CC) has published details of the ‘External scrutiny benchmark’ that it uses to assess filed charity accounts to determine whether they meet the minimum expected standard. Although some may find the criteria included as part of the benchmark quite basic, CC’s own research shows that only 76% of the accounts filed by larger charities with income greater than £1 million meet all of the criteria. For smaller charities the failure rate is much higher.
By publishing the benchmark the CC hopes that charities will be better placed to ensure that the accounts they prepare meet all of the minimum standards. This is true not just for charities that prepare their accounts themselves, but also where they employ a professional accountant to do so, enabling them to assess whether the adviser has the necessary skills and expertise to prepare charity accounts.