Having opted for an Independent Examination of their charity’s accounts, the trustees may find it helpful to draw up a set of questions to ask their proposed examiner to help them check that the person has the skills and experience needed. You should ask:
- all examiners to confirm that they have read and understood the Charity Commission’s Directions and guidance
- professional examiners to provide proof of membership of one of the professional bodies listed here and that they meet that body’s requirements for acting as an independent examiner. In particular, the examiner is likely to need a practising certificate or licence, although if he or she is not charging a fee to carry out the independent examination this may not be necessary. This check can be done using each body’s on-line member search tool, or directly if the body does not have this facility
- non-professional examiners to explain their skills and experience and why this makes them competent to carry out the work. For example, the examiner may work in a role that involves financial management, such as setting and managing budgets and reviewing financial reports, or that requires knowledge of accounting systems, such as maintaining financial records and internal controls
The trustees’ decision to appoint a person to act as the charity’s examiner should be in writing and recorded in the charity’s minutes. The examiner should confirm their appointment and this can be done by an exchange of emails. Professional examiners may issue a letter of engagement, setting out the terms of their appointment including their fee.
The process of finding and appointing an examiner can take time and so should not be left until the trustees’ annual report and accounts are due for filing.