Academy Accounts Direction 2023-2024

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The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published its Academies Accounts Direction for 2023-2024.

The Accounts Direction (AAD) sets out the requirements and provides guidance for academy trusts preparing their annual report and financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2024.

A full copy of the new AAD and accompanying documents can be obtained here.

The ESFA has also published its model set of accounts for academy trusts for 2023-2024 (the Coketown model) and its framework and guide for external auditors and reporting accountants of academy trusts for 2023-2024. These can be found here.

The ESFA has made 10 main changes to the AAD:

• The introduction of a new ‘What an academy trust must do’ section to help academy trusts better understand their obligations.

• Provision of greater clarity on the relationship between the financial statements and other financial returns (paragraphs 1.4 – 1.5).

• The removal of references to the Covid-19 supplementary bulletin, reflecting that Covid grants have either stopped or become part of business-as-usual activity.

• The expansion of the review of the effectiveness of the systems of internal control to include a conclusion on whether an academy trust has an adequate and effective framework for governance, risk management and control (paragraphs 1.17 and 2.48).

• Updated ESFA feedback to the sector on outcomes of its assurance work and compliance with the Direction (paragraphs 1.20 – 1.23 and Annex A).

• Confirmation of how 16-19 core education funding should be disclosed in the financial statements (paragraph 2.98).

• Clarification that the staff costs note should separately identify ‘other employee benefits’ (paragraph 2.134).

• Clarification of how an academy trust can determine an appropriate value for the initial recognition of premises occupied under a long leasehold (paragraph 3.27).

• Update on the information to be disclosed for agency arrangements to include cumulative unspent fund balances (paragraph 3.132).

• The addition of further examples of sources of information to inform the Accounting Officer’s statement of regularity, propriety and compliance. A full list can be found in paragraph 2.57.

Content changes to the model set of accounts for academy trusts for 2023-2024 have helpfully been highlighted in yellow by the ESFA.

Whilst many of the changes may not be considered significant, they are important. Trustees and academy trusts need to understand these changes and ensure they comply with them.

For further information contact the expert below.

Do you need extra information?

Alex Bottom - Managing Prinicipal for Hillier Hopkins

Alex is a specialist Audit Principal and acts for many of the firm’s larger corporate clients. Alex commonly advises owner managed businesses and also heads up our specialist academies team.

Contact Alexander at or on +44 (0)1923 634429