Charity Finance Office

Providing Independent Examinations to small Scottish charities since 2019

Statutory Requirement

All Scottish charity’s have a statutory obligation to have their annual accounts independently examined before submission to OSCR. The purpose of independent examination is to make sure charities are transparent and accountable to the public. It also helps to show your charity is being run properly and that charity trustee duties are being followed.

Independent Examination

All charities registered in Scotland must have their annual accounts checked by someone who is external to the charity. This is called external scrutiny. There are two types of external scrutiny: independent examination and an audit.

An independent examination is less rigorous and less costly than an audit. For many smaller charities independent examination will be appropriate.

Independent examination involves a review of the accounting records and the annual accounts/report of the charity. The independent examiner considers whether the accounts are supported by the accounting records and show an accurate picture of the financial affairs of the charity.

The examiner also considers whether the accounts are prepared in accordance with the law.

At the end of the examination the examiner will make a report to the charity trustees. This report must be submitted to OSCR along with your accounts.  


All charitable structures are eligible for an Independent Examination subject to meeting the following criteria:

  • Turnover – between £0 and £500,000
  • Total assets – between £0 and £3.2m
  • Governing documents do not require an audit
  • A funder has not required an audit as a condition of funding
Independence Requirement

Independence means that the examiner must not be influenced or be seen to be influenced, by their relationship with the charity and its trustees.

Independence is not possible if you are:

  • one of the charity’s trustees,
  • anyone else involved in the management, control or administration of the charity. There are also occasions where a volunteer (including trustee) would not be independent, or
  • the treasurer or book-keeper who maintains the day to day accounting records.

Independence can also be compromised by being ‘connected’ to the charity. Such a connection can arise because of:

  • a family relationship, e.g.: the spouse, parent or child of an individual volunteering with the charity, or
  • a financial or commercial relationship, e.g.: someone who represents a funder or provides other services to the charity.
Charity Finance Office

The accountants of the Charity Finance Office are members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Charity Finance Office is approved and regulated to engage in Independent Examinations by the Association of Accounting Technicians – both of which are recommended professional bodies from OSCR. Certificates of chartered status and license to complete independent examinations are available on request.

We work exclusively with small Scottish charities, we have strong familiarity – and can provide support – of OSCR’s Receipts and Payments Workpack as well as the Charities Statement of Recommended Practices (SORP).

How we complete an Independent Examination

We’ll work with the charity’s treasurer to ensure all the necessary information is available. Once confirmed we’ll organise (and pay) for the collection of the charity’s bookkeeping records by our courier. We’ll then conduct an Independent Examination with the aim of providing our signed report within two business days. On completion we’ll organise for your accounting records along with the signed Independent Examination report to be returned by our courier.

In line with the guidance provided by OSCR we can assist in the preparation of the annual report. If your charity is unsure on how to produce the annual report we can provide practical step-by-step guidance and be on hand to answer questions relating to the production of an annual report using OSCR’s Receipts and Payment Workpack.

Less than £5,000£80
Between £5,001 and £10,000£100
Between £10,001 and £15,000£120
Between £15,000 and £25,000£150
Between £25,000 and £50,000£200
Above £50,000 (Contact to discuss further)£250 to £500
The above fees are for the Independent Examination only. Additional fees may be charged for support in preparing the annual report if requested by the charity.

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