WHAT IS THE CHARITIES ACCOUNTING STANDARD?
In the area of financial reporting, charities in Singapore were given an effort-saving leg up in the form of the Charities Accounting Standard (CAS). However, very few have taken advantage of this.
The CAS was issued with the intention of making it easier for smaller charities to comply with accounting standards while ensuring charities present information that is fit-for-purpose.
Still, many charities in Singapore have chosen not to adopt CAS in their financial reporting, opting instead to adopt the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (FRS).
This could be due to lack of familiarity with the CAS and reluctance to invest in the cost and effort of switching to the new standard. After all, CAS does require some changes - e.g. the presentation of a Statement of Financial Activities (SOFA) - which a charity's accounting records may not be able to support. It also requires additional disclosures, such as detailed disclosures of remuneration and other benefits paid to individual governing board members.
Nonetheless, these are mostly 'one-time' changes to systems and implementation. On an annual recurring basis, adoption of the CAS reporting framework will be simpler and yet provide better information to stakeholders.