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.


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Full conference agenda

Laura Anderson, OSCR

Laura will provide an insight into what has been happening at OSCR over the past year in terms of new developments and focus areas including an overview of how the new OSCR Online system has been operating, the work ongoing to develop the next Charities SORP and reflections on the issues and trends seen from OSCR’s casework activities.

Alan Eccles, Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co

This session will cover fundamental elements of charity law as well as recent developments.

The recent developments will come from sources including the courts and OSCR on topics such as investments, use of charitable funds and reorganisation of charities.

We will also cover legislative reforms working through the Scottish Parliament which will affect charities. At the heart of those is the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill. As well as covering what is in the Bill, there will be an opportunity to consider matters the Bill will not update but which perhaps merit reform… and the impact that will have on charities and those advising charities.

Phil Frost, Mercia Group Ltd

This session will cover ten common issues when dealing with charity accounts, including;

  • Fund accounting
  • Income
  • Grants
  • Fixed assets
  • Mergers
  • Going concern

Jon Sparkes, Bishop Fleming

An update on direct tax matters affecting charities including:

  • Dealing with non-primary purpose trading
  • Use of trading subsidiaries
  • Fundraising
  • Gift Aid
  • Employment tax

Cathy Magee, Dyslexia Scotland

Hear directly from Dyslexia Scotland about the current big issues for the charity and what support and assistance they need from you on audit and accounting matters. Topics covered with include:

  • Overview of Dyslexia Scotland’s work, to set the context
  • Statistics and a little bit about dyslexia
  • The big issues for us as a small charity (funding; Income generation challenges; time) Support and assistance we need from accountants (as well as the people charities serve) – e.g. specific advice on legacies; problem-solving on unforeseen challenges such as setting up an Agency agreement to receive partnership funding; dyslexia-friendly reports; accessible information for Directors; clear timeline in lead up to AGM and outline of what is needed when
  • Relevant services we provide that may help accountants
  • Questions

Neil Owen, VAT Advisory Services LTD

This VAT session will focus predominantly on HMRC’s recently issued new guidance on what is and is not a business activity for VAT purposes, with mention of other topical issues as time permits.

Peter Herbert, Insight Training

Charities courses and file reviews reveal lots of questions about presentation and disclosure and how to get them right. This session will focus on the most common areas of concern and how to ensure that disclosures are spot on. Topics covered will include;

  • Disclosure of transactions with trustees and related parties
  • Key tips and traps with Trustees Annual Reports
  • Accounting policies and going concern
  • Common problems for charitable groups
  • Important considerations regarding comparatives
  • Key differences between smaller and larger charities

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. .



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.



Phil qualified in his home town of Sheffield. He worked for Financial Training for a number of years and was their midlands regional director before joining Mercia in 2001. He lectures to the accounting profession and to those in industry and commerce on accounting, auditing, and related legal and regulatory topics as well as specialising in charity and property accounting together with international accounting standards.

In his spare time, he now watches cricket and rugby as his playing days are behind him.



Jon is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser with more than 25 years experience. During his career he spent 9 years with a ‘Big 4’ firm during which he was part of their Charities Network advising a range of national and international charities and not-for-profit organisations. He is now leads Bishop Fleming’s charity tax services working with their clients on tax issues such as non-primary purpose trading, setting up trading subsidiaries and Gift Aid. He has experience of working with a wide range of charitable sub-sectors including higher and further education, academy schools, independent schools, social housing, visitor attractions, hospices, sports and wellbeing organisations, the creative industries, charitable foundations and membership organisations.


Cathy Magee is Chief Executive of Dyslexia Scotland, the national voluntary organisation which aims to enable people with dyslexia, regardless of age and abilities, to reach their potential in education, employment and life. Cathy has been in post since October 2007.

Her background prior to this includes 4 years on secondment to the then Scottish Executive Health Department, managing the National Health Demonstration Projects programme; over 20 years voluntary sector experience working at local, national and international levels (including Save the Children, Wester Hailes Adventure Group, Voluntary Service Overseas in Nepal, Volunteer Development Scotland and the Stirling Health and Well-being Alliance); as well as teaching English as a Foreign Language for 2 years in France. Her roles have included managing volunteers, staff, community development projects and after school clubs involved in addressing inequalities, improving health and well being and informal adult education and basic literacy, as well as national policy development, implementation and dissemination.

Her interest in dyslexia first began while working at Save the Children with children with learning difficulties in an after school club in Muirhouse, Edinburgh.

Neil Owen

Neil Owen is an independent consultant, speaker and occasional writer. He has specialised exclusively in VAT since 1984, when he joined HM Customs and Excise as a VAT officer. He entered professional practice in 1990, working for regional accountancy firms in the Thames Valley and Solent areas, before establishing his own VAT consultancy practice in 2007.

Neil has taken a close interest in VAT for academies for over ten years and continues to advise a number of clients in the sector, mainly MATs, on a regular basis

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.

One Day Conference
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Previous Scottish Charities Conferences

Explore the programme of our previous Scottish Charities Conferences:

2022 Scottish Charities Conference