Benkorp’s Assurance Review Service
The aim of the Assurance Review is to state whether anything has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the Financial Statements are not presented fairly, in all material respects.
All churches require that their accounts and financial statements are checked by an independent review process at least once every year.
Although this check has traditionally been provided through an Audit Report, there is an alternative available which provides a similar but reduced outcome – the Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report.
An audit report is provided by an Auditor and the Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report is provided by an Assurance Practitioner.
The background and rules for engagement and practices for the Assurance Practitioner are covered by Standard number ASRE 2400, the Australian Government’s Accounting Standards Review Board.
Explanation of Assurance Review
The difference between an assurance report and an audit report are:
• less detail checking of individually processed transactions
• fees are less expensive for the Assurance Practitioner than the Auditor
Evaluation of the financial accounts
• to state that the accounts are free from material misstatement
• to state whether, on the basis of the procedures described, anything has come to the reviewer’s attention that gives cause to believe that the Financial Statements are not presented fairly, in all material respects
Systematic and technical
examination of the books/system of accounts,
1. to determine whether the financial statement represents true and fair view
2. to detect if there are any errors or frauds, in the financial accounts of the client.
Requires checking (by sample) of transactions and supporting documentation
Church Board’s/Council‘s responsibility for the annual Financial Statements
The appropriate Boards or Councils of the church/parish are responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the Financial Statements in accordance with their Constitution and related Rules. This responsibility includes establishing and maintaining internal controls relevant to the preparation of the Financial Statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud, error, selecting and applying appropriate accounting policies and making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances.
Limitations of Accounts Review & Audits
Because of the inherent limitations of an audit and accounts reviews, together with the inherent limitations of any system of internal control, there is an unavoidable risk that some material misstatement, fraud or irregularity may not be detected, even though the audit is properly planned and performed in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards. This is particularly the case in respect of receipts where the scope of an audit or review is restricted to the amounts recorded in the accounts of the church.
How the Assurance Review will be prepared for your AGM
We advise booking this service as soon as possible (some churches even book us a year ahead).
Please arrange your Assurance Review booking as soon as possible after deciding the AGM date.
The AGM must be at least 2 months after the end of your financial year.
The accounts must be ready for review by the middle of the first month after the end of your financial year.
The engagement letter with Benkorp must be signed before the end of your financial year (even if the date of the AGM is not decided)
Preparation for your Assurance Review or Audit
Specific year-end training session
In order to reduce the costs and complications of either your assurance review or audit, we recommend booking a “year-end training session” near the end of your financial year. For December year end we suggest October or November training session.
This “year-end training session” is specifically to assist your bookkeeper prepare the accounts – such as reconciling the balance sheet, analysing the income and expense statements and more. Practical and hands-on training.
By taking this training you will increase the quality of the accounts and reports and reduce the cost of your assurance review or audit.
The Process of an Assurance Review as provided by Benkorp
- Benkorp requests specific information
- Board/Council provides the information as required
- Benkorp reviews the information provided and requests further information as required
- Board/Council provides the further information
- If required, corrections are made to the accounts by the church or Benkorp as agreed. Corrections made by Benkorp are chargeable*
- After corrections are completed Benkorp will provide an “Independent Assurance Practitioners Review Report”
- Designated officers of the Board/Council are to sign the financial reports and present to the Church’s AGM.
The scope of the review includes and is limited to:
- Checking the constitution or founding documents of the organisation to ensure that the constitution allows for an independent assurance review be performed annually.
- Checking that the opening accounts equal the closing accounts balances of the last audit or independent review.
- Checking that the assets and liabilities reported within the Financial Statements are reconciled and supported by third party documentary evidence where possible.
- Reviewing the written financial policies of the organisation and perform some spot checks to determine if any of these financial policies are implemented.
- Providing the current list of authorised/responsible people listed with the Australian Business Register (ABR), Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC)
- Providing a statement indicating if anything has come to my attention that causes me to believe that the Financial Statements are not presented fairly, in all material respects.
Benkorp’s fee for the Accounts Assurance Review is from $795 + GST and is payable within 14 days of the invoice date.
This fee is for standard churches & Not-for-profit organisations with up to 5 staff. We will discuss a different fee proposal for organisations with more staff, significant ministries and/or complicated situations.
*Additional Fees if necessary:
If Benkorp is required to make accounting corrections – $150 + GST per hour
Training & Consulting – $175 + GST per hour