The Government has published its Academies Accounts Direction for 2022-23 and the good news is that no new requirements have been introduced. That does not mean, however, that academy leadership teams should be complacent as clarification and changes have been made to existing requirements.
The Accounts Direction sets out the requirements for academy trusts and their advisers in preparing annual reports and financial statements for the accounting period ending 31 August 2023.
The Direction is published alongside two further documents – a model set of accounts (called the Coketown model) and an auditor framework and guide primarily for the use of external accountants and auditors.
Academy trusts will not need reminding that this Direction is mandatory for all academy trusts with a funding agreement with the Government.
Whilst this year’s Academies Accounts Direction does not introduce any new requirements, some changes and clarifications have been made to the existing requirements. These include:
- Clarification on how trustees should use the Direction.
- Clarification on the expectations for interim arrangements in the absence of key signatories.
- Updated guidance on the treatment of loans.
- Clarification on the treatment of teaching assistants categorised as support staff.
- Reminding academy trusts of the need to separately disclose material income sources.
In response to growing concern about school buildings’ safety risks, the Education & Skills Funding Agency has also added to the Direction:
- Clarification that the trustees report on the principal risks and uncertainties should also consider risks that impact trustees’ responsibilities to ensure the buildings and wider estate are safe and comply with relevant regulations.
- Clarification that the review of value for money statements should encompass estate safety and management.
- The need to demonstrate how accounting officers should demonstrate how they have effectively used funding to ensure the estate is well-maintained, safe and complies with relevant regulations.
- Clarification that the statement on regularity, propriety and compliance encompasses estate safety and management.
As in previous years, the Education & Skills Funding Agency continues to seek feedback on the accounts direction and model accounts. A short survey can be found here.
For more information contact Alex Bottom on the details below.