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What is an Independent Examination?

According to the Charity Commission publication CC31 “an independent examination is a simpler form of scrutiny than an audit but it still provides trustees, funders, beneficiaries, stakeholders and the public with an assurance that the accounts of the charity have been reviewed by an independent person.

An examiner, in their report, is only required to confirm that no evidence has been found that suggests certain things have not been done by the charity. This form of ‘negative assurance’ is a more limited form of scrutiny.

An examination involves a review of the accounting records kept by the charity and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records. It also involves a review of the accounts and the consideration of any unusual items or disclosures identified. It is important to note that verification and vouching procedures, where an item in the accounts is checked against an original document such as an invoice or a receipt, only become necessary where significant concerns are identified from the work of the examiner, or where satisfactory explanations cannot be obtained from the trustees.

In the examiner’s report, the examiner is only required to provide a statement on specific matters that have come to their attention as a result of the examination procedures specified in the Directions made by the Commission. This is a simpler requirement than that of an audit. An auditor is required to build up a body of evidence to support a positive statement of opinion on the accounts. In particular, an auditor is required to form an opinion as to whether the accounts show a ‘true and fair view’”.

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