Annual Report 2023

Building trust in the charity sector through audit

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  • Case Study
PwC is proud to audit some of the UK’s most iconic charities, helping ensure transparency and reliability is at the heart of the country’s most purposeful organisations.

Setting the scene

Whether securing safe water at WaterAid, supporting seriously ill young people at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, or providing first aid and emergency medical services at St John Ambulance, all the charitable organisations we audit deliver solutions to some of society’s most important problems every day. 

Charities comply with the same standards and scrutiny during an audit as other companies but because they interact with some stakeholders differently - people donate money to support causes they care about, instead of investing for financial return - there is an additional lens of scrutiny.

How we helped

As societies grapple with a myriad of challenges, millions of people continue to rely on the vital work of charities.  

But these organisations face challenges of their own. Donors, trustees and regulators want assurance that funds are being used as intended. They want to know that risk management and strong internal controls are driving the best possible outcomes while providing for a sustainable future. This includes compliance with the Charity Governance Code. On top of this, charities face the same rising expectation of transparency around environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. 

All of the above is considered by our charity sector audit team. The audit opinion underpins confidence in the financial information presented in the annual report and accounts. Our audit teams are also in a unique position to give independent feedback on the internal control environment. 

We encourage the charities we audit to invest in good practice reporting, particularly through the Charities Award, part of our annual Building Public Trust Awards, and our annual reporting workshop. Charities Audit Leader Daniel Chan MBE explains: “The ‘S’ in ESG is what charities inherently do, so this represents an opportunity for the sector to set an example on important non-financial disclosures in this area.” 

Running a charity requires specialist skills. We help foster networks through regular events for Finance Directors, CFOs and Trustees, in particular Audit Committee members of larger charities.

“Compliance and governance are critical to us as a charity, being responsible for the stewardship of our donors' money. Requirements continue to increase and having the support of PwC and their skills in audit and assurance is extremely valuable to us in ensuring high quality reporting.”

Kevin Thompson
Trustee and Chair of Finance & Resources Committee, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

Making a difference

Among the iconic charities we audit are Charities Aid Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, MSI Reproductive Choices, The Royal National Theatre, Plan International, St John Ambulance, The Prince’s Trust, and WaterAid.

Our people use technology and sector expertise to scrutinise the inner workings of charities, providing independent reasonable assurance that the financial statements are reliable. 

We also review a charity’s response to additional requirements, including how they report on their fundraising activities. Our clients tell us they find our insights and benchmarking useful, including visualisations from technology tools which identify trends in their activities.

By providing an independent opinion we help charities build and maintain trust with their stakeholders, supporting the wider sector in its long-term goals to solve some of society’s most important problems.

Contact us

Annual Report enquiries

Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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