Accounting charity calls for 'more inclusive' Sorp Committee

The Association of Accounting Technicians says there should be more representation of donors, beneficiaries and trustees from accountants at smaller charities

An accountancy charity has called for reforms to the make-up of the body that sets the Statement of Recommended Practice for UK and Irish charities in order to make the committee more inclusive.

The Association of Accounting Technicians, a charity that provides accountancy qualifications, has called for more representation from donors, beneficiaries and trustees from and accountants for smaller charities on the Sorp Committee.

The call for reform was submitted in the AAT’s response to a consultation on reforming the charities Sorp, a consultation that runs until 4 February and will for the first time produce a single charities Sorp for all four charity regulators in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The AAT says that it would be useful to include some "non-technical professionals" on the Sorp Committee to reflect the views of people who use accounts, as well as those who create them.

This would address concerns that the Sorp Committee has "too great a technical emphasis", the AAT response says.

A simplified charities Sorp could make charity accounts more accessible to trustees, the AAT says, particularly those without a background in finance.

The Sorp Committee should also consult journalists to promote awareness of the consultation and to encourage those journalists to submit responses, the AAT response says.

Phil Hall, head of public affairs and public policy at the AAT, said: "Put simply, the 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 AAT’s calls for reform echo those made by a former Sorp Committee member Joe Saxton, co-founder of the research organisation nfpSynergy, who quit the committee in 2017 and last year called for major reform to the way charity accountancy standards are set.

Saxton said at the time that the Sorp Committee’s "mechanisms have been captured by charity finance professionals".

A report by nfpSynergy also called for charities’ financial reporting to be made more transparent and accessible to the public.

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