Auditors and independent examiners have, for a while now, had a statutory duty to report any matters of significance to the charity regulators, The Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator for Scotland and The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.
The guidance however has been updated in April 2020 following Covid-19. The main changes relate to reporting at times of national emergency and are as follows:
- Confirmation that even during these disrupted times the auditor or examiner must still report matters of material significance
- However where the modified opinion/ matter identified is solely due to the exceptional circumstances of the national emergency then this is not considered to be reportable as a matter of material significance. An example may be where you cannot verify stock existence due to restrictions on travel.
Following on from this the Charity Commission has announced that it will review all independent examination reports or audit opinions, signed on or after 1st May 2020, which contain a qualification, modified opinion or other reporting paragraph, to confirm that a matter of material significance has also been filed with the Commission in accordance with the updated guidance.