ONECAN Toolkit: Independent scrutiny of accounts

In order to promote transparency and provide assurance that funds are being well managed and used in accordance with its constitution, a community group should have its accounts independently scrutinised annually. For registered charities in Scotland, this is a legal requirement.

The type of external scrutiny will depend on the wording of the group’s constitution, it’s legal structure and whether it is a registered charity. Most community groups’ constitutions will state that accounts should be ‘independently examined’ meaning that someone who is deemed competent to do so can scrutinise the accounts providing that they are entirely independent from the group (not a relative or partner of a member etc.). This could be someone with bookkeeping knowledge, a treasurer of another community group or anyone who understands basic financial information. 

However, should the constitution make any reference to audit/auditor or a third party such as a funder require it, a registered auditor must carry out an audit of the accounts. For registered charities, the type of independent scrutiny also depends on the gross income and value of assets held for the accounting period. Please see OSCR’s guidance for further information..

If your group is looking to have its accounts independently examined, the Association of Charity Independent Examiners (ACIE) provides a list of suitably qualified examiners.

For further information on the independent scrutiny of accounts, please contact VASLan’s Stuart Reilly at [email protected]

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