Gillian McKay, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector ICAEW, shares her thoughts and feedback on the recent ICAEW Charity Conference.
ICAEW held its 2019 annual charities conference on 28 June, I hope you were able to attend and enjoyed the day.
For me it is always a great opportunity to meet so many members working in the sector, hear their concerns, and to share information regarding the technical updates affecting charities and to share ideas on how to find solutions to common problems.
Our opening panel included Mike Ashley, board member of the Charity Commission, Madeleine Fone, from the technical advisory team of ICAEW and Sudhir Singh, head of charities at MHA McIntyre Hudson. The panel debated issues arising from reporting matters of material significance, the practical and ethical issues which may impact auditors and independent examiners and the importance or reporting from the Commission’s perspective.
This was the first year we dispensed with microphones and asked attendees to submit questions through an online app and the response was tremendous – we clearly are very interested and engaged in this area!
According to Mike Ashley the reporting of serious incident reports, and matters of material significance, have increased sharply from last year. Increases in reporting are welcomed however some further caution needs to be heeded regarding the quality of charity accounts. Mike reported that there are still a considerable amount of charity accounts submitted where there are clear areas that are “worthy of improvement”.
We encourage all our members to engage with the sector but would remind all who do, even those who do so on a pro bono basis, that we need to ensure we retain appropriate professional standards when we do. Madeleine Fone emphasised the importance of sing for support from the technical helplines when facing technical or ethical problems in our work.
The conference also showcased, for the first time. The new ICAEW trustee training modules. The modules are one of the benefits of membership of ICAEW’s new volunteering community. The modules contain 6 online training modules covering the basics you need to know to be an effective charity trustee. They are designed to be a comprehensive but light touch introduction, with signposts to further reading for areas the user may wish to explore further. After completing the modules there is an optional assessment which, upon completion provides an ICAEW certificate.
The conference was an opportunity for us to let attendees test drive the modules and see them for themselves, feedback to date has been very positive so if you are interested in the I would encourage you to visit the Volunteering Community pages.
Further sessions throughout the day focused on updates to accounting and taxation. So much happens in this space that sometimes it can seem hard to keep up.
The remainder of the sessions were delivered by excellent sector experts, they covered cyber security, employment law, managing volunteers, charity mergers and charity law and compliance.
It was a great day with a great turnout. I really enjoyed meeting as many of you as I did and hope to see you at next year’s charity conference on Friday June 26.