Charities Conference

Our one day charities conference has been specifically designed for partners and senior managers with responsibility for a number of charity clients.

The topics covered are:

  • Charity Commission Regulatory Update
  • Gift Aid and Small Donations Scheme
  • Financial Reporting
  • Charity Audit Issues
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Charity Structures
  • Trustees Annual Reports

CPD hours: 6


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Full conference agenda


Nigel Davies or Amie Woods, Charity Commission

In this session Amie/Nigel will recap on recent developments in Charity Commission guidance, research findings, the approach taken to regulatory activity and findings from regulatory casework.


Andrew Burgess

Gift Aid is an important resource for charities and the new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GADS) has added an extra dimension to fundraising but both schemes must be operated correctly. This session will highlight the opportunities and the potential pitfalls of both schemes.

• It must be a gift
• There must be a payment
• No link to a purchase
• Get your declaration right
• Make sure you have an audit trail
• Maximise giving from higher rate donors
• Beware the donor benefit rules
• GADS brings extra rewards
• Watch the links between Gift Aid and GADS
• Take full advantage of the community building addition


Peter Herbert, Insight Training or David Norris, Mercia Group Ltd

Late 2018 saw the publication of the Charity SORP Committee’s Update Bulletin Two, aligning with the FRS 102 Triennial Review. This session will provide an insight into its implications and an update on the future direction of travel of the SORP. Practical challenges faced by charities and their advisors on application of the current SORP will also be discussed.

*Please note: at the Exeter event this session will take place at 4.00pm


Andrew Paul, Mercia Group Ltd

With the level of interest in charities and how they operate at an all-time high, the role of the charity auditor has never been more
important. Andrew’s session will look at some of the common areas where auditors fall short or struggle to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence and will suggest some practical ways to obtain assurance. The session will also look at reporting issues both in the audit report and to the regulator.


Hear direct from a charity about what support and assistance they need from you.


Fraud Advisory Panel

The Fraud Advisory Panel is the independent voice of the counterfraud community. We champion best practice in fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, and help people and organisations to protect themselves against fraud.


Louise Dunford, LD Consultancy Ltd or James Evans, Tozers Solicitors LLP

This session will cover:
• Incorporated or unincorporated, what are the options?
• Benefits and drawbacks of each structure
• Using the Charitable Incorporated Organisation – should we convert?
• Formalities – what do I need to do?
• Liability of trustees within each structure – relevant considerations


Peter Herbert, Insight Training or Andrew Paul, Mercia Group Ltd

The Trustees Annual Report (TAR) is a crucial document for a range of key charity stakeholders. This session will highlight some of the common problem areas and how to address them. A particular area of focus will be recent regulator feedback on reserves policies and how these should be explained in the TAR. We will also provide some helpful tips for auditors in this area.

*Please note: at the Exeter event this session will take place at 11.15am

Conference speakers


Louise has since 1987 been continuously involved in training and consultancy, both for professional firms and for commercial organisations. Until recently she also worked as an associate senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth where she was mainly engaged on postgraduate teaching on the MBA, MA Personnel Management and MA Business Law, and she retains an active relationship with the University, having taught on their IPD courses in Grand Cayman and Guernsey. Louise specialises mainly in aspects of practical employment law, company law and on professional negligence, and has published widely in leading academic and professional journals.


Peter qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG. He worked for The Financial Training Company for 6 years, the last three as a senior manager in the London office, responsible for developing courses for corporate clients. Peter presents courses to accountancy firms, companies and financial institutions. Peter's areas of technical expertise are financial reporting, auditing and practice regulation. He also writes and delivers financial analysis and personal development programmes for a range of blue chip and private companies.


David is the Product Director. He joined SWAT UK in 2000 as an audit lecturer and reviewer, having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with South West firm Thomas Westcott.

In 2014, David was appointed to the Board as Training Director and is responsible for the content, delivery and development of all SWAT UK courses throughout the country and over the web, before moving onto his current role.

He also remains responsible for the Southern region and for the service delivered to all clients in that region, and he still performs a large number of file review visits and lectures, mainly in the areas of audit and financial reporting.


Andrew joined Mercia in 1999 as part of the Audit and Accounts technical team and lectured on Practical Training Workshops, Paper and Paperless Audit Manual courses and undertook Peer Reviews. He has also been a Training Event Manager.

At the end of 2012 Andrew left Mercia to work In Rwanda for six months, helping to build the capacity of finance teams working in the healthcare sector with the US Charity Partners in Health. On returning to the UK, Andrew held the post of Finance Manager for Compassion UK, a £30m+ income Charity.

Andrew returned to Mercia in Autumn 2014 as part of the Audit and Accounts technical team.

Andrew retains lots of contacts in the charity sector and is a regular volunteer at events such as London Olympics 2012 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as being a keen Leicester Tigers supporter.


Andrew joined the Inland Revenue in 1970 as a graduate Inspector and left in 1984 having served as a District Inspector and head of a special investigation unit. He joined Neville Russell (now Mazars) and was a partner there for 19 years. He was heavily involved in charities being responsible for writing the tax sections of Tolleys Charities Manual and a number of other books relating to tax and charities. He joined Mercia as a CPD lecturer in 2003. Since retiring in 2014 he has kept busy as treasurer of his local Baptist church, being a member of the Finance Committee of the Baptist Union and chairman of the Baptist Building Fund. He has also done some training for ACAT.


Nigel is Head of Accountancy Services at the Charity Commission and Joint Chair of the Charities SORP Committee. He oversees the team who cover all accountancy aspects of operational and inquiry activities for the Commission. He leads the Commission on accountancy related collaborations with umbrella organisations, professional accountancy institutes and technical panels and working parties. He regularly speaks at events and publishes articles on charity accountancy matters. He responds on behalf of the Commission to IPSASB and IASB consultations.


James is a partner and solicitor at Tozers LLP and heads the charities and social enterprise team. He is a leading charity and social enterprise law specialist, with over 20 years’ experience supporting a wide range of sector organisations across the South West and beyond, including many national and international organisations. He advises sector organisations on many issues including formation and getting the right legal structure, governance and constitutional issues, mergers, collaborations, corporate transactions, charity law compliance, fundraising, and trading issues. He is an active member of the Charity Law Association and is a ranked lawyer for Charities UK-wide in the legal directory Chambers UK 2019.


The Fraud Advisory Panel is the independent voice of the counter-fraud community. We champion best practice in fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, and help people and organisations to protect themselves against fraud.


Amie joined the commission in March 2016 as the Deputy Head of Accountancy Services. Amie oversees the work of the team of accountants who cover all accountancy aspects of operational and inquiry activities for the Commission. Amie is a certified accountant with a background in financial and forensic investigation and regulation.

One Day Conference