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.

Background

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

 

Comparison

Assurance

Audit

Meaning

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,

2 objectives:

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

Assurance level

Moderate assurance

Reasonable assurance

Cost

Comparatively low

High

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

  1. Benkorp requests specific information
  2. Board/Council provides the information as required
  3. Benkorp reviews the information provided and requests further information as required
  4. Board/Council provides the further information
  5. If required, corrections are made to the accounts by the church or Benkorp as agreed. Corrections made by Benkorp are chargeable*
  6. After corrections are completed Benkorp will provide an “Independent Assurance Practitioners Review Report”
  7. Designated officers of the Board/Council are to sign the financial reports and present to the Church’s AGM.

Fee

Benkorp’s fee for the Accounts Assurance Review is $650 + GST and is payable within 14 days of the invoice date.

This is the standard fee and any extraordinary complications in the accounts requiring special attention will require additional time and fees – this is  discussed with you beforehand.

*Additional Fees excl GST

Benkorp can provide accounting corrections, assistance or training if required for additional fees of $135 per hour + GST

 Book your Assurance Review