When you engage us for an audit, you must agree to give us access to all your financial documents. This may include documents that include personal details, such as membership lists, or client service information.
Why are we asking for this?
For an audit, we can’t just take your word for it that everything is as you say. Auditing your income involves trying to verify that everything your organisation earned has actually made it into the bank (or is being disclosed as held elsewhere).
How we are trying to do this varies, but in many cases we need to establish whether payment has been received for services provided – and for that we sometimes need to know what services have been provided to who. Channeling away income at source is by far the biggest fraud opportunity in a not-for-profit, and we have to investigate this possibility in your own interest.
What happens to this data?
All information you provide to us may be stored electronically in our databases for a number of years, which staff have access to. Volunteers or interns are given temporary access to specific information only. We do not keep any paper copies of any such information, and in many cases we will not take any copies at all but only request to view specific aspects of it at your premises. We do not share any information you give us with third parties.
In many cases we are happy for your to black out names or personal details from documents we’d like access to.
Third Party Queries
Occasionally a third party, usually a funder, contacts us to request more information about your financial position or activity.
We do not divulge any more information than we give in the financial and/or audit report that you have provided to that person or funder, and we do not comment on your organisation’s viability or performance over and above what is stated in the financial or audit report. We would never disclose to a third party the results of any specific audit tests, or any specific conversations we have had with you.
As audit reports and the Notes to financial statements often have to use jargon prescribed by financial standard makers, we do offer further explanation on what a specific Note, or specific aspects of the audit report, mean in plain English. Sometimes the person contacting us has difficulty ascertaining the financial position of an organisation, because of the way the information is presented, and we will help to clarify this using only the information given in the report.
The only exceptions to this are:
1) you have given us permission to talk to this third party about your financial status;
2) your organisation is in breach of the law (particularly the Charities Act) seriously enough that professional-ethical standards would compel us to notify the regulator of this breach. This is extremely rare and hasn’t occurred in CCA’s history as yet.