Museums win rare assets battle

Accounting Standards Board drops plans for charities to include the value of rare or unusual assets on balance sheets

British Musuem mummy
British Musuem mummy

Charities have won a long battle against proposals that could have forced them to spend millions of pounds valuing rare or unusual assets in order to declare them on their balance sheets.

The Accounting Standards Board had said valuations for all "heritage assets" would need to be included on the balance sheets of the country's charitable trusts and museums.

However, after consultations with charities and auditors, the requirement has been dropped from the final version of the ASB's Financial Reporting Standard 30: Heritage Assets.

The final standard requires charities to account only for assets bought or donated after 2001, and to include a note in their accounts explaining the nature of the assets that are not on the balance sheet.

Kate Sayer, a partner at charity accountancy firm Sayer Vincent, said the outcome was a victory for common sense.

"There was a real fear this would cause huge problems for charities," she said. "Museums, in particular, own millions of artefacts. They have no idea of the value of many of them, and it would have been impossible to find out.

"Very good people have been working on this within the ASB, and they've dealt with the legal requirements very successfully."

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