Knox Cropper is one of the principal firms providing audit, assurance and tax services to the students’ union sector and we are currently the appointed external auditor to 13 students’ unions in London and the South East. Students’ unions face a number of specific challenges. For example:
- They are registered charities whilst at the same time operating a range of commercial services. This can give rise to both VAT and direct tax complexities.
- Their governance arrangements result in frequent changes to their board of trustees with sabbatical student trustees appointed for a single year. In these circumstances, it is particularly important that trustees receive support and guidance.
- Their accounting systems need the functionality to account for large numbers of clubs and societies as well as a range of commercial operations.
In providing audit and assurance services to the sector, we support management to ensure that financial statements are in full compliance with legislation and accounting standards. We focus on providing clear explanations to the board of trustees on the key assumptions and estimates that have been adopted by management and on the overall financial position of the students’ union. Student trustees are frequently unfamiliar with accounting jargon and we aim to explain issues in clear and straightforward language.
In addition to audit and assurance services, we offer a wide range of other services including:
- VAT advice and planning. With a wide range of non-business and VAT exempt activities, students’ unions’ VAT position can be particularly complex. We advise our students’ union clients on the optimal input tax recovery and liaise with HMRC to implement this. In addition, we assist many of our clients with their annual VAT adjustments.
- Direct tax mitigation. We are able to provide guidance and clarity on which activities are potentially subject to corporation tax and the setting up of subsidiary trading companies to mitigate tax, where appropriate.
- Internal control reviews. We carry out specific projects to evaluate internal control systems and provide a full outsourced internal audit service.
- Implementation of accounting systems. We assist clients with the implementation of new accounting software, including process flows and coding structures.
- Trustee Training. We provide a bespoke annual training course for newly appointed student trustees on understanding financial statements.
Please contact one of our team for more information on how we can help you.