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Chairman update 4th February 2021

As you will be aware one of the repercussions of COVID-19 is that we have had to announce the postponement of the Society AGM. It is hoped that we will be able to hold an AGM later in 2021, however at present this is by no means certain. In common with all governing bodies at this present time your Council are monitoring the situation, but at the time of writing we can only speculate rather than make definite plans.

However, I can update you regarding the annual financial report which is traditionally presented at the AGM. Our Society accounting year end falls at the end October, after which the figures are finalised and completed by the Society ready for the audit to take place.  The Society audit process is instigated by McIntyre and Hudson (MHA) the Society auditors during week one and two of December, during which time accounts information and supporting documentation is extracted and provided to MHA for assessment.

Helen Vickery, Temporary Executive Officer, and Kim Melton, Accounts Administrator, both worked extremely hard during December and all the elements requested by MHA were submitted to them prior to Christmas. On behalf of everybody I would like to say a sincere thank you to Kim and Helen who have put in so much work to ensure the required information is available to MHA within the given timescale.

The audit process associated with accounts of any charity such as ours has become much more rigorous in recent years, and the amount of detail which needs to be provided by the Society to the auditors is immense. Every detail of the governance of the Society is minutely examined by the auditors and must satisfy the Charity Commission. This part of the audit now seems to consume more time than finalising the actual figures. Taking all of this into consideration, including factors such as the Society’s year end falling on the last day of October and the AGM taking place at the end of January, it is proving to be an extremely tight timescale to ensure that accounts are ready in time for the AGM. Council have discussed this matter and are exploring possible solutions.

I can report that despite the lack of any major trials in 2020, that the financial position of the Society remains in a healthy position. When the audit is completed and signed off by MHA, the 2020 Society accounts will be circulated to Directors and in due course details will be published within the ISN magazine and on the Society website. An initial meeting with MHA to discuss the accounts has been scheduled for 16th February 2021.