Charities have only until January 1 to come up to speed on new financial accountancy changes, an expert has warned.

David I’Anson , partner at the Poole office of international accountants and business advisers Mazars, cautioned that charities across Dorset and Hampshire needed to adhere as closely as possible to this fresh guidance.

He said: “What we are seeing is a fine-tuning of what has gone before – so it should not be too burdensome for charities to take on board. Nevertheless there are important differences and it is vital that charities fully understand and observe them. High standards are crucial for any charity dealing with the public and handling funds.”

His comments came ahead of a charity seminar taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Bracken Place, Southampton on Friday 24 October. It is free to attend and aimed at charity professionals and trustees.

The focus is on what is known as SORP 2015 – the Charity Commission’s Statement of Recommended Practice, which comes into effect for accounting periods commencing after January 1, 2015.

In fact the Commission has published two new Charity SORPs affecting the way charities report their activities.

There is a choice between using the new Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland (FRS 102) or the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities (FRSSE), a cut-down version of existing UK accounting standards

Practitioners preparing their accounts under the new SORP can opt for either, provided their charity meets two of the following criteria – gross income of £6.5 million or less, gross assets of £3.26 million or less, or 50 or fewer staff. Otherwise, they will need to adopt the FRS 102 version.

The seminar will concentrate on the FRS 102 SORP, offering an overview. The changes primarily reflect issues surrounding income recognition, presentation and senior executive pay. It will also cover fraud, VAT, investment, tax and risk.

Registration is at 8.30am with refreshments and lunch will follow the presentation which finishes at 1.00pm.

Places are limited so to attend this free seminar, contact Sandra Waring at Mazars on 01202 680777 or email [email protected]