Havens Hospices provides hospice care and support for adults and children throughout Essex who have a chronic, life threatening or terminal condition, or are suffering from any disability or disease, and support their families, relatives and loved ones. Havens Hospices incorporates Fair Havens Hospice, which provides an adult in-patient, day care, at home and family support, and Little Havens Children’s Hospice which provides children’s hospice care.
Sayer Vincent were appointed as auditors in 2011. Soon after being appointed, we spent a week with Havens Hospices staff prior to the year end audit to learn about finance systems, procedures, income streams and controls. This preliminary review gave us a good understanding of the organisation and the areas of possible risk, and meant that the on-site audit visit in June was a smooth process for all concerned. We even found that our recommendations made during the preliminary review had already been put into place! Shortly after we were appointed as the auditors, we were asked us to carry out a VAT review. We attended the Finance Committee meeting to present the post-audit report and VAT report and discuss these in-depth with the Trustees.
“In 2011 we decided to undertake a market review of auditor firms. This is a practice that we tend to undertake every 4/5 years both to ensure that we continue to get good value for money for these professional services and to gain a fresh viewpoint on our business affairs. For this process we considered five audit firms all of which are well established, leading players within the charity sector. On interview we assessed against various criteria such as charity sector experience, service philosophy and approach, quality of tender document, fee levels and the individual qualities of the attending partner and manager.
Following this review we decided to appoint SV as we felt they best met our needs, although they were not the cheapest! We found their tender document interesting and different to the traditional norm and the partner and manager came across as being very knowledgeable and well prepared about us, interested in understanding our activities and had good and challenging questions which they put across in a professional yet friendly manner. We felt that we could develop a good working relationship with them, which is such an important factor in this decision process.
The first year-end interim and final audits by Sayer Vincent went very well and reinforced our view that we made the correct decision in appointing them. As well as being very professional and competent, they are friendly and really seem to be interested in who we are and the work we do and in understanding how our organisation works. We know, and expect, them to challenge us on our financial processes and procedures and offer constructive comments on areas where they believe we can improve upon. They have been helpful in suggesting how we can improve and simplify, with the provision of some software, the preparation and presentation of our statutory accounts. We look forward to working with them in the future.”
David Pearce, Head of Finance, Havens Hospice