Scottish Charities Conference

Our one day charities conference has been specifically designed for partners and senior managers with responsibility for a number of charity clients.

*If you are based in England please see our Charities Conference alternative.


Who should attend the conference

Mercia's Scottish Charities Conference is a must-attend event for any accountancy firms with Charity clients based in Scotland.

Through this one-day virtual conference, you will get practical advice about all the latest changes and challenges currently facing the charity sector. Hear from financial experts and charities on how you can add value to your clients.


NEW FEATURE: Conferences On-Demand

Following the event, everyone who has booked on the conference will now receive exclusive access to a high-quality recording of the entire event to watch at their convenience. Giving you the ability to revisit technical updates or catch up on what you missed.


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Full conference agenda

Laura Andreson, OSCR

This session will provide key updates on OSCR’s work over the past year, including:

  • improvements made to the annual return for charities
  • reflections from our inquiry work
  • dealing with charities that do not file their annual accounts
  • looking ahead – what’s coming up?

Susan Dunsmuir, Scottish SPCA

Hear directly from Scottish SPCA, who will give their perspective on what the big issues are for them at the moment, what they want/expect from their advisers, and what accountants could help them with. 

  • Overview of Scottish SPCA work, to set the context
  • SSPCA in numbers, to provide some statistics
  • The current big issues facing us as a charity
  • Support and assistance we need from accountants, advisers, wider stakeholders and the communities our services support
  • Opportunities to get involved in supporting our charity and your organisations
  • Questions

James Hurst, Mercia Group Ltd

This session will focus on a selection of VAT issues that affect charities. It will be based around an update on topical items such as recent VAT tribunal decisions and HMRC policy changes, using this as a platform for considering some of the VAT challenges that are more commonly faced by charities.

Jon Daley, Crowe UK

This session will provide a general update of recent tax developments relevant to the charity sector, together with a refresh of key tax pitfalls and opportunities for charities.

Nick Sladden, Kelly Adams, RSM UK

What do the trustees of charities want from their accountants? RSM’s Top Ten Tips session will explore the key areas where trustees often require support and guidance, along with some ways that you can put this into practice. The session will provide you with ideas to enable you to ensure that the boards of your charity clients are equipped with the information they need to enable them to make good decisions and ultimately achieve their charity’s objectives.

Peter Herbert, Insight Training

The preparation and scrutiny of charity accounts throws up many challenges. This session will update you on recent and forthcoming rule changes and also deals with a number of common problem areas:  

  • recent and prospective updates to UK GAAP and other regulations relevant to charity accounts
  • the revised SORP – the direction of travel
  • tricky accounting and audit issues and how to tackle them
  • latest ICAEW feedback on charity audits and independent examinations.

Alan Eccles, Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co

This session will consider OSCR powers and trustee duties and responsibilities with a background of Inquiry Reports that OSCR has issued. This will give an opportunity to consider good practice in light of situations which are the subject of concerns being raised and OSCR engaging its powers to investigate and take action. The Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Act 2023 extends certain OSCR powers and we will provide an overview of them and how those powers could have fitted into previous Inquiry outcomes.

Conference speakers


Laura is the Senior Manager for Higher Risk Cases & Quality Assurance at OSCR with responsibility for the most serious and complex cases as well as OSCR’s work in relation to charity annual reports and accounts and annual returns. Laura trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and worked in private practice until 2007 when she joined OSCR. She is an active member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland and is the joint-Chair of the UK Charities SORP Committee. .


Susan is a qualified accountant with over 20 years of experience in finance roles across the charity, education and financial services sectors. Susan is currently the Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the Scottish SPCA where she is part of the Senior Leadership Team with strategic responsibility for finance, estates, health and safety, procurement, IT, risk and business planning. Susan has been in this post since the start of 2023. Her background prior to this includes 12 years in the College Sector, including four years as the Chief Finance Officer at Fife College. Prior to this, Susan worked in senior finance roles within various financial services organisations. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

James Hurst

James joined Mercia in October 2022 as VAT trainer and consultant. His role involves writing technical material as well as devising and delivering VAT training courses. James has a wide experience of VAT and indirect tax, beginning his VAT career with HM Customs & Excise (as it then was) before moving to the private sector in 1995 and gaining his CTA qualification. Latterly, he had VAT partner and head of VAT roles in Grant Thornton and Mazars. James was actively involved with the Charity Tax Group for a number of years and has presented on VAT topics for the Charity Finance Group.

Outside of work, music remains a keen interest. Aside from playing jazz on the tenor sax, James is a regular member of the trumpet section of the Leeds Project Big Band.

Nick has over 25 years of experience in the not for profit sector and is passionate about providing assurance, accounting and governance support to charities of all sizes. As the Head of Charities at RSM UK, he leads a team of experts who deliver high-quality services and solutions to some of the firm’s largest and most complex not for profit clients, including Top 100 charities.

Nick has a strong track record of producing and presenting best practice and commenting on regulatory developments, responding to consultations from the Charity Commission, OSCR, INPAG and FRC, and speaking at key sector events such as CFG, ICAEW, The Chartered Governance Institute, ACCA, and CIMA conferences. He also has extensive international exposure, having worked on exciting charity projects in USA, Germany, Ireland and Romania with RSM International, and completing the Governing for Non profit Excellence program at Harvard Business School in 2014.

Nick is also Chair of Trustees at the RSM UK Foundation. Outside of RSM, he enjoys volunteering and is a member of the ICAEW Charity Community Advisory Group, a school governor as well as a trustee for a national charity. He is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the City of London. 

Kelly is a chartered accountant and audit partner with RSM UK and leads RSM’s Public and Third Sector offering in Scotland. With over 23 years of experience with RSM, she looks after a wide portfolio of clients, ensuring that their compliance needs are met and providing general advice and support.

Kelly is a member of the RSM not for profit group, and is experienced in working with local and national charities, providing support on financial reporting and accounting matters. She is involved in writing and delivering sector specific training for RSM, delivering training to trustees/committee members and management teams and delivering technical seminars and updates for charities.

Kelly is a member of the ICAS Charities Panel, which is responsible for representing ICAS on matters impacting on the UK charity sector in relation to public policy; law and regulation; financial reporting; and external scrutiny. She is a member of the SORP Technical Engagement Strand so is involved in the next iteration of the Charities SORP expected in 2025. She is also Chair of the Board of West of Scotland Housing Association and a member of their Audit Committee.

Jon Daley

Jon is an Associate Tax Director at Buzzacott where he has worked for 12 years specialising in the charity and the not for profit sector. Jon regularly assists clients with charitable company and trust tax returns, property transactions, charitable trading and structuring business activities, Gift Aid and other tax-efficient giving, employment tax, mutual trading, theatre tax relief and other creative industry reliefs. In addition, Jon regularly writes updates and commentary on tax developments relevant to the charity sector and also hosts a wide range of seminars to various charity groups. Jon is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser.

Peter Herbert

Peter qualified as a Chartered Accountant with an international accountancy firm before working in industry. He has over 20 years of training experience. He writes and presents technical updates for firms of accountants and qualified accountants of private and listed companies. Peter specialises in financial reporting, auditing and practice regulation. Peter also regularly carries out compliance reviews for firms of accountants which provides him with an invaluable insight into the practical financial reporting and auditing issues that they face.


Alan Eccles specialises in advising charities and individuals and is a partner with Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co. Legal directory Chambers says that Alan advises on a range of issues and has particular expertise in charities work noting he is a “professional, dedicated and professional lawyer” and has “excellent experience and technical knowledge, and he is very generous with his time”. He teaches charities and trusts at Strathclyde University, is a charity trustee and is a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s charity law committee.


One Day Conference
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The on-demand recording is now available

Released on 8 April 2024 the recording will be available to view until 31 December 2024.