The accounting requirements are significantly more demanding for academies than for maintained schools. Meeting standards for the preparation of financial statements of charitable companies requires different and enhanced skills and expertise.
The absence of a local authority providing (often previously unseen) support adds to the risk and exposure of the CEO and finance director. To complicate things further the regulatory requirements of the Education Finance Agency demand enhanced levels of financial control and stewardship.
The freedoms of academy trusts include being able to establish subsidiary companies such as trading organisations and community interest companies adding further complexity to financial management, accounting and reporting.
Are you confident you understand the requirements on you? Do you have to ask your auditors to draft your financial statements thereby increasing the costs to your academy? Does your accounts system collect and report information in a way that is easily understood by management? Does your chart of accounts allow you to analyse your income and expenditure to provide insights into the cost drivers of your academy and to monitor, control and forecast financial performance?
Do you and your finance staff have the financial skills needed to best protect the academy from non-compliance and the problems that this will bring? Are you able to analyse your accounting information to provide insights into efficiency of your organisation? Do your accounting records provide a sound basis for forecasting future financial performance and support effective decision making?
Academies could be left with a colossal black hole following forthcoming state pension changes
Academy Finances: Five key tests for accountancy professionals, Paul Essery, Liquid Networks
Academies know your new SORP, CIPFA Network News
Academy schools and VAT: FAQS, UHY
Academy schools update: August 2014, UHY
Academy schools update: Winter 2014-15, UHY
Schools Blog, UHY
Academies August accounts return template and guidance, Education Funding Agency
Academies and the SORP 2015, Education Funding Agency
Academies Accounts Direction 2014/2015, Education Funding Agency
Academies Accounts Direction 2014/2015 summary, CIPFA CSFAN
Academies Financial Handbook 2015
The Role of the CFO in Academies
Special free school revenue funding: 2015 to 2016, Department for Education
Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the Department for Education financial statements 2013-14, National Audit Office
Accounting for academies: slides, CSFAN and FAN events 'Accounting for Academies' in May 2014
Financial reporting made easy: slide deck explains the financial reporting requirements for academies, CIPFA CSFAN
Accounting for Academies: Business Solutions for Financial Reporting (2013 edition), CIPFA
Effective Governance and Financial Management in Academies, CIPFA
Guide for Finance Committee Members in Academies, Colleges and Universities, CIPFA
Higher Education Finance (fully revised third edition 2011), CIPFA
Model Set of Financial Regulations for Academies, Colleges and Universities (2013 edition), CIPFA
Resource Allocation Models in Further and Higher Education: A Compendium (fully revised second edition 2010), CIPFA
Certificate in Financial Reporting for Academies, CIPFA
CIPFA Accredited Financial Training for School Business Managers – October 2015, NASBM
Costing the Curriculum webinar, CIPFA