Staff spotlight - Finance Manager
May 24, 2021
The RSCDS staff team thought members may like to discover a little more about what happens ‘behind-the-scenes’ at Financial Year End with an insight from our fabulous Finance Manager, Sandra Parish...
“Well it’s that time of year again and after collating all the accounts for our Auditors, I have finally managed to come up for some air as I wait on their feedback.
The audit process usually commences in March, when we have an initial meeting with Alexander Sloan, our appointed Auditors, to plan how we will prepare the Audited Statutory Accounts. During this meeting we review what has happened in the last financial year, discuss any significant events that had occurred and consider any upcoming events that may be relevant to the year that just passed.
This year we also discussed the newly introduced accounting standards and their potential impact on the RSCDS accounts. The most relevant to impact the Society is ‘ISA (UK) 570 Going Concern’ which means that the Auditors now require projections and budgets up to 30 June 2022. This additional information gives the Auditors the confidence that, at the time of signing the accounts in June 2021, we predict that we are still going to be continuing in business for the foreseeable future.
An additional important topic of discussion with the Auditors is the preparation of the Trustees’ Report which outlines the financial story for the year and aims to provide members with a better understanding and overview of the RSCDS accounts.
The stock count is another crucial Year End activity which takes place in March. For the last two years, we have had to conduct the stock count at Coates Crescent under COVID restrictions, which meant adjusting our procedures to allow us to be socially distanced. There are two main locations where stock is stored at the RSCDS office and we have a lot of CD and book stock to count, so this can take a considerable amount of time. The annual stock count is part of the Audit process so a member of the Alexander Sloan Audit team also attends to check the counting is accurate.
In April, I start to prepare a set of Management accounts and finalise the VAT return for the year. Due to educational events like Summer School being cancelled, the make-up of the VAT returns has been very different this year. The Society is partially exempt for VAT which means I need to look at the last four VAT returns to ensure I have claimed the right amount of VAT. It’s useful to look for trends and patterns to make sure the balances are in line with previous years. This type of analysis normally means you would review any anomalies first to see why there was a difference and check whether there were any errors in the nominal accounts. However, as a result of the pandemic impacting our activities and events this year, normal analysis has not been possible and instead, I have had to review the actual transactions and use my knowledge of what has occurred in the last year to double check these figures. All of this has proven to be fairly challenging!
The next step is to send the accounts to our Accountants by the last week of April. The Accountants will review the figures and make any required adjustments in order to turn them into our Statutory Accounts over a two-week period. The Treasurer and I will then check the first of many drafts and once fully satisfied, we will share them with our Auditors. This involves a lot of crosschecking back and forth to make sure the accounts are not misleading or misrepresenting what has happened during the financial year.
After that, the Audit field work involves testing a variety of transactions, analysing the results and making sure they comply with the accounting standards. Any variances are then sent back to the Accountants to be checked and adjusted.
Communication with the Auditors continues throughout May and June to ensure all parties are content with the final accounts and they can be forwarded for approval to our Finance and Governance Advisory Panel (FGAP). If there are no further changes, these accounts will be presented to the Board at the end of June and signed by both the Auditor and the Chairman.
Once the final accounts are signed, they will be lodged with Companies House and OSCR before the Treasurer presents them to members at the AGM in November.”