Accountancy charity calls for 'simplified' SORP

09 Jan 2019 News

An accountancy charity has called for changes to be made to the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), the set of rules which govern charity accounting, to make it more accessible.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) published a response this week to an ongoing consultation on how to reform the process for developing the SORP.

In its response, AAT recommends that the SORP should be simplified in order to make the document more accessible to trustees, with a non-financial background and of charities with more straightforward financial affairs.

It calls for the SORP Committee, the body which designs the accounting rules, to be expanded to include donors, beneficiaries, trustees from smaller charities and preparers of the accounts of smaller charities.

AAT’s response proposes that a small number of non-technical professionals should be included on the committee, to “address concerns that the work of the SORP Committee has too great a technical emphasis and better reflects the views of users of accounts”.

'Improve the consultation process'

It also calls for the consultation process itself to be improved to boost the number of responses from under-represented groups.

The charity suggests that regulators tell charities to encourage their donors and beneficiaries to respond.

It also suggests more promotion of the consultation through charity trade publications and for regulators to encourage journalists with knowledge of the sector to consider responding themselves.

Phil Hall, AAT’s head of public affairs and public policy, said: “Put simply, AAT is keen to see wider experience and representation on the SORP Committee, simplification where possible and a SORP that is more widely accessible.”

The charity’s recommendations chime with those expressed by researcher Joe Saxton, whose resignation in protest at the lack of transparency in charity accounts led to the current consultation.

Charities have until 4 February to respond to the consultation, with a summary of responses due to be published by 30 April.

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