Committee recommends a second Sorp for smaller charities

Ray Jones of the Sorp committee says there is a strong case for two Sorps - one based on the new FRS 102, the other on the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities

Ray Jones
Ray Jones

The Statement of Recommended Practice Committee has recommended that a second Sorp should be introduced to cater for smaller charities.

The committee, a panel of finance experts that advises the Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator on the Sorp, has proposed that two Sorps be introduced, one based on the new FRS 102 reporting standard, and the other on the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities.

It would mean that charities could choose between either Sorp, depending on which accounting standard they use.

The change has been put forward as part of the ongoing review of the existing Sorp, which was launched to take into account changes introduced by FRS 102, the new internationally geared financial reporting standard.

The commission and the OSCR has been consulting on an exposure draft of a proposed new Sorp, which will be introduced for accounts for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2015.

It suggested one Sorp with separate sections for charities that will use FRS 102 and those that use the FRSSE.

In order to use the FRSSE, charities must meet two out of three of the following criteria: an annual income of less than £6.3m, total assets of less than £3.26m, or fewer than 50 employees.

During the consultation, 76 per cent of respondents supported the combined approach.

But Ray Jones, policy accountant at the Charity Commission and member of the Sorp committee, said the committee had received "vehement feedback from a number of respondents", most prominently the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, which said the Sorp was too focused on applying FRS 102 and neglecting the FRSSE option.

He said that there was now a strong case for two Sorps with charities choosing one or the other, in line with the accounting standard they choose to use.

"Having two Sorps will remove the criticism that there was too much focus on the new Financial Reporting Standard," he said.

"It will also mean that future changes to the FRSSE can be handled more easily and will allow charities to focus more clearly on requirements that apply specifically to them."

Nick Brooks, head of not-for-profit at the chartered accountancy firm Kingston Smith, said that the main benefit for charities opting out of FRS 102 was that they would not have to produce a cash-flow statement with their accounts.

The Financial Reporting Council will review the proposed changes and is due to publish final versions in June.

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