Charity reporting in 2020
Scott Jeffrey of the ICAS Charities Panel shares the hot topics that will be covered in this year’s Charities Update course.
When we rang in the new year following 12 months dominated by discussions of Brexit, little did we know what was about to ensue. Less than three months later, 23 March, a day already marked in my diary for a friend’s birthday, suddenly became important for a very different reason – that was the day that lockdown was announced in the UK, and life as we knew it changed.
For charities, as for all of us, the pandemic has presented a mixture of new challenges and opportunities for trustees to plan for. For anybody working in the sector, the need for resilience and adaptability has been uppermost in our minds. We have had to ensure enhanced financial and cashflow management and revisit risk assessments to ensure the welfare of staff, volunteers and those using the services of the charity, all while having a renewed focus on remaining a going concern.
Our 2020 ICAS Charities Update course has also had to adapt to these changing circumstances. This year, we are moving online, to a webinar format, covering many of the same topics that have made this course one of the most popular in the ICAS calendar.
I will be hosting three one-hour webinars with a variety of guest speakers. Each will cover different topics and will be held at different times to ensure maximum flexibility for those wanting to attend. They will be a mixture of live presentation and video, as well as a Q&A session to maximise participation.
For those who are unable to attend one of the live events, the course material (excluding the Q&A session) will be recorded and made available to delegates registered for the webinars.
16 September: Governance and risk management
The topic of good governance and risk management has never been as important as it is today, from revisiting risk assessments to ensuring policies and procedures remain fit for purpose in the Covid-19 era. This webinar will also provide a legal update on charity-related matters and a reminder of trustees’ responsibilities. Changes to the ways we operate will also mean potential changes to how annual general meetings and board meetings are conducted.
24 September: Technical update on accounting, audit and independent examination
As you would expect, there will be a technical update on accounting, audit and independent examination and an update from the ICAS monitoring team. This will include discussing the challenges of undertaking an audit or independent examination in the current environment.
The going concern basis has risen to the top of the agenda for many charities, and we will discuss what trustees should be doing, and also what challenges they should expect from their auditor or independent examiner. In addition, there will be a session on the findings from the ICAS monitoring reviews and a look at setting a robust and realistic reserves policy.
1 October: Charity tax matters update and an update from the regulator
We will be hearing from a tax expert about the impact on charities of recent developments in taxation. We will also be hearing from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator on what they are seeing in the charity sector during these unprecedented times.