Auditors/independent examiners should be appointed by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. The person appointed must be independent of the PCC. He or she must not be a member or employee of the PCC, nor must his/her spouse/partner.
If auditors/independent examiners are not appointed by the APCM, or if the auditors/independent examiners appointed by the APCM are unable or unwilling to act, they shall be appointed by the PCC and they must not be members of the PCC.
The requisite qualification of auditors/independent examiners is dealt with in detail in regulations under the Charities Act 2011. Refer to the handbook ‘PCC Accountability, The Charities Act 2011 and the PCC’, 5th edition, Chapter 11 for further information. An alternative helpful reference is available on the Parish Resources website.
Where the gross annual income of the PCC is no more than £250,000, an independent examination will be required; the examiner does not need to have a professional qualification. If gross annual income is more than £250,000 but less than £500,000, an independent examination by a professionally qualified accountant will be necessary. If gross annual income is more than £500,000, or gross annual income more than £250,000 and balance sheet value gross assets exceed £3.26m, an audit will be required by an independent auditor.
There is a template Independent Examiners Certificate available from the downloads section below.
In September 2017, the Charity Commission announced an updated set of directions that Independent Examiners are required to follow. The changes include three new directions:
- Direction 2 – examiner independence. Examiners must check for any conflicts of interest that may prevent them from carrying out the independent examination;
- Direction 7 – disclosure. Only accounts prepared on the Accruals basis are affected this. This requires independent examiners to ensure that there is proper disclosure of conflicts of interest and disclosure of related party transactions; and
- Direction 9 – financial sustainability and going concern. This requires examiners to check whether the trustees have considered the charity’s financial circumstances when preparing the accounts; and for Accruals accounts only, whether the trustees have made an assessment of the charity’s position as a going concern.
There is full guidance on these in the CC32 Guide for Independent Examiners.